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Prof. Usman Ahmed, Provost, College of Health Sciences, Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa, says Nigeria must establish Federal University of Health Sciences in six geo-political zones to address inter-disciplinary rivalry and dearth of healthcare professionals.

Ahmed, who is also a Professor of Health Sciences at the University of Salford, Manchester, Britain, make this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.

He noted that basic sciences were the same, saying: “You can train up to 10 different healthcare professions in the same class.

“Right from the word go in their training, they will begin to realise everybody’s importance and begin to work as a team even as students.

“You can have an inter-disciplinary team and a discipline related team working together. That way, you will forever have harmony in the health sector.’’

According to him, the suggested universities of health sciences should be under a National University of Health Sciences University Commission, and not the National Universities Commission (NUC).

“Because NUC is currently training healthcare professionals particularly doctors without any reference to what the country needs.

“There is no conversation between ministries of health and education in the training of healthcare professionals and that is why we are where we are today,’’ he said.

To further address the shortage of health professionals and enhance equitable distribution of health workers, the don suggested the establishment of National Health Workforce Commission.

Ahmed said the proposed National Health Workforce Commission should be a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Health.

He added the proposed commission would monitor the training of health workers and ensure equitable distribution of healthcare professionals in the country.

Ahmed lamented that National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) as it was currently composed was not the way Nigeria should be marching towards realising Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

He said there was a need to change the narrative at NHIS as well as the way Federal Ministry of Health was going about achieving UHC.

In this regard, Ahmed also suggested the establishment of National Health Service through modification of the NHIS Act, adding the proposed agency will provide mandatory and compulsory public funded health services.

He added that the proposed National Health Service should be funded through public fund and certain percentage of government revenue, adding that every worker from either public or private sector should contribute to the service.

“Government should use at least two per cent of the annual tax every year to cover older people, who are 60 years and above, and those who are not working and cannot afford to contribute.

“It should start by covering essential services which are easily define in the details of the SDGs particularly goals number three (health and wellbeing) the commonest conditions that affect all Nigerians,’’ he said.

He added that on top of the basic healthcare coverage, there should be a private insurance coverage for those who want more additional coverage.

Ahmed said the private health insurance providers should be the current HMOs.

He said that the HMOs should be given licence to operate as private health insurance providers licensed by the proposed national health insurance service.

Ahmed said NHIS as it was currently composed could not be the proposed National Health Service but the NHIS could be transformed into that.

“Part of the transformation means modifications and amendment to the NHIS Act and the National Health Act 2014,’’ Ahmed said.

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