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Stakeholders advocate robust humanitarian coordination in North East

By Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja

Following the continuous unrest in the North East and other kinds of humanitarian emergencies across Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health is calling for a robust coordination towards humanitarian response in the North East.

This call was made when stakeholders held a national discourse tagged: “Nigeria health humanitarian response dialogue.”

A panelist, Prof. Babatunji Omatara said that health information management was also required at the local levels, pointing out the need to strengthen partnership with local communities, ownership of programmes and sustainability of ongoing efforts.

He further said that the level of preparedness for human emergencies needs to improve while calling for a sustainable plan to build human capacity and more funding for healthcare in terms of payment for health services.  

The World Health Organization officer in Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peters said that integrated services required that humanitarian actors must be coordinated by the federal and state governments with a common vision and common efforts.

He observed that the current uncoordinated situation was characterized by outbreaks resulting in malnutrition and gender based violence.   

Also, the Director Health Services, Department of State Security (DSS), Dr. Ann Okoroafor said that “health threats are top on the list of security issues. National development is linked to health. Conflicts, disease outbreak regrettably, impact on the health of a people and impede economic growth.’’

Dr. Okoroafor emphasized that health workers needed to be protected in war affected areas, like Maiduguri and other towns in the North East. She also pledged that DSS would continue to cooperate with other relevant stakeholders working in the North East.

Earlier, the Overseeing Director, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mr. Bernard Omogo said that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were faced with social and physical dislocations.

He stressed that NHIS would mobilize resources to provide health coverage for all Nigerians in that the organization would explore all available avenues to garner support to ensure that IDPs had sustainable access to health insurance.