… As Ex-Minister seeks better healthcare system***
President Muhammadu Buhari says Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable.
The President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement on Monday, said President Buhari expressed the optimism at the Climate Change Summit, COP 26, side event on the Great Green Wall (GGW), on Monday in Glasgow, Scotland.
The event was co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Prince of Wales, and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.
The Nigerian leader said it was noteworthy that the meeting was tailored towards ameliorating the problems of land degradation, desertification, depletion of the forest ecosystems and biodiversity in Africa.
The president, who was speaking on the theme of the event, “Accelerating land restoration in Africa, the case of the Great Green Wall initiative”, said:
‘‘With all hands on deck and concerted efforts at land restoration by African leaders, I am optimistic that Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable.
‘‘Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that Nigeria will soon be assuming the leadership of Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall.
‘‘Nigeria pledges her unalloyed commitment to expanding the achievements of the GGW programme in Africa from the enviable status attained under the leadership of His Excellency, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
‘‘Together we commit to the transformative process of restoring the African degraded landscape and ultimately the continent’s environment.”
President Buhari recounted that one of the major outcomes of the fourth edition of the One Planet Summit on Biodiversity, organized by the French Government in Paris, France on Jan. 11, 2021, was the pledge of 19.6 billion dollars by the coalition of international communities to upscale the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative in Africa.
He, therefore, appreciated the international partners for bringing environmental issues in Africa to the limelight.
The president described the Biodiversity Summit as a direct response to the request for support by African leaders to the global communities on addressing Africa’s environmental challenges.
‘‘Since the pledges by the financial partners, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has continued to give technical backstopping to the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall through the establishment of Great Green Wall Accelerator for the 2021- 2030 Decennial Priority Investment Plan for the Great Green Wall programme.
‘‘This is to fast-track the implementation process with the prime purpose of translating the pledged financial resources of 19.681Billion United States Dollars into hectares of land restoration and other livelihood improvements at various country levels,’’ he said.
While highlighting Nigeria’s role in actualising the land restoration initiative, Buhari told the side event held on the margins of COP 26 World Leaders Summit that the country participated in drafting and harmonizing the Results Framework for the Accelerator with five cardinal pillars to address the 2021- 2030 Decennial Priority Investment Plan ambition of the Great Green Wall.
According to him, the five cardinal pillars include the restoration of 100 million hectares of degraded land; sequestration of 250 million tonnes of carbon; creation of 10 million green jobs; resilient economic development in the various Member States as well as capacity strengthening and development.
On the margins of COP26, President Buhari accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Environment (State), Petroleum (State), Power (State), the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Sarafa Tunji Isola and the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari toured the Nigerian Pavilion.
At the Pavilion, according to the presidential aide, President Buhari held a bilateral meeting with the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Mr Ibrahim Thiaw.
”They exchanged views on the challenges of desertification, along with climate change and loss of biodiversity in Africa, need to recharge the Lake Chad and the UNCCD support for the GGW initiative,” Shehu revealed.
President Buhari stressed that Nigeria’s approach in addressing the physical and socio-economic aspects and effects of desertification, drought and climate change would prioritise the education of the local communities and the use of technology.
In his remarks, Thiaw, while congratulating Nigeria’s imminent presidency of the Heads of State and Government of the Pan African Agency of the GGW, said the world is looking up to President Buhari for leadership.
He said 11 countries including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eretria, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sudan had been selected as intervention zones for the Great Green Wall.
He expressed confidence that the implementation of the GGW initiative would prevent and reverse degradation of the ecosystem in the affected countries while improving the living conditions of the affected communities.
Nigeria is among the 193 countries that have ratified the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
The goal of the Convention, as defined by its Article 2, is to ‘‘combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.
This can be achieved through effective action at all levels, supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.
In the meantime, a former Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, on Monday called for the political will and commitment toward the improvement of healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.
Grange made the call at the 11th Annual Virtual Conference of the Society for Quality in Healthcare in Nigeria (SQHN), in Lagos.
The newsmen report that the theme of the conference is: “The Future of Healthcare in Nigeria”.
The 2021 SQHN conference aimed to highlight existing challenges within the health sector and proffer solutions for improvement.
Grange emphasised the need for prioritisation of the healthcare system by policymakers in the country.
She said it had become necessary for the government to increase its allocation, investments in and funding of the health sector.
The ex-minister said this was in view of the huge treatment gap and lapses in the sector as exposed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
According to her, the government needs to display its commitment by enacting and enforcing policies that will enhance healthcare service delivery in Nigeria.
“The budgetary allocation to major sectors like health and education needs to be reviewed upward.
“No nation can survive without adequate funding of its education and health sector and as the wise saying goes; health is wealth,” she said.
Prof. Joseph Ana, Lead Senior Fellow, African Centre for Clinical Research and Patient Safety, highlighted in his presentation the need to focus on the patients’ safety, support of the healthcare workers and elevation of the healthcare system.
Ana, also the Keynote Speaker at the conference, called for the national implementation of the 12 Pillars of Clinical Governance.
This, he said, promotes patient and family involvement in care, clinical audits, systematic quality programmes and accreditation among others as solutions to address national healthcare problems.
He recommended visionary leadership, patient-centred care, a motivated workforce among others for organisations willing to start off quality improvement.
Ana emphasised the importance of measurement, using data and key performance indicators, to drive improvement.
“Scaling quality improvement and clinical governance efforts would require impacting cultural rules, laws and policies as well as replication of knowledge among the key stakeholders.
“Digital health approaches such as telemedicine, use of electronic medical records, inventory management systems are vital for quality improvement but the focus must always be on the needs of the patients and how they will benefit,” he said.
Earlier, the President of SQHN, Dr Wole Abiodun-Wright, in his opening remarks, spoke on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and globally.
He said that the Society adapted by converting most of her programmes and services from physical to virtual mode of delivery.
Abiodun-Wright also highlighted the effort that the Society had made to develop health facility standards approved by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare in 2020.