Prof. Muhammad Pate, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, said rehabilitation workforce and services will be strengthened to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and reduce brain drain in the health sector.

Pate, represented by Dr Okpikpi Okpako, Director, Regulatory Bodies and Professional Schools Divivsion, FMoH, stated this at a two-day stakeholders meeting, Wednesday in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by the Medical Rehabilitation Therapists (Registration) Board of Nigeria (MRTB), with a theme, “Implementation of Rehabilitation 2030 Agenda in Nigeria: Training, Practice and Regulation.’’ .

He said integrating the World Health Organisation (WHO) Rehabilitation Agenda 2030 will address brain drain and improve access to rehabilitation services, thereby achieving UHC.

“ The government is not unaware of the phenomenon as it affects the entire healthcare workforce. The japa syndrome has assumed an alarming trend in physiotherapy where Nigerians with relevant qualifications are continuously attracted abroad.

“ Many medical tourists have come to give account of the rehabilitation services they received abroad at exorbitant costs. You can be rest assured that the Healthcare system will be turned around in Nigeria in no distant time with what the government of the day has begun, no time for details.

“ This gathering represents an important step in the implementation of the Rehabilitation 2030 Agenda initiative, which envisions that every citizen should be able to meet her or his rehabilitation needs.

“ Your gathering today is a milestone for Nigeria in fulfilling its mandate to transform healthcare services delivery to assume Universal Health Coverage,’’ he said.

The minister, therefore tasked the participants to brainstorm on strategies that will ensure improve rehabilitation services and implementation of Resolutions of the Rehabilitation 2030 Agenda with a view to integrate it into UHC.

Prof Rufai Ahmad, Registrar and Chief Executive Officers, MRTB, said: “We are coming here to meet with stakeholders to discuss how to initiate the process of rehabilitation from the perspective of practice, regulation and training.

“However, having these stakeholders will also give the opportunity to discuss matters that will require stakeholders attention to be able to have implementation of the rehabilitation 2030 agenda,’’ he said.

Prof. Philip Abiodun, Chairman, National Tertiary Health Standard Institution Standard Committee (NTHISC), said they will support towards ensuring full implementation of policies that will strengthen rehabilitation services.

“Because you plan to set standard and we shall be happy to have this standard from you so that we can incorporate and monitor it. I can assure you of our full cooperation.

“The WHO 2030 vision should not just be paper work or rhetoric.But what we are going to do today is not just talk but action. I am very convinced that we are moving forward,” he said.

On his part, Prof King David, representing Mr Chris Maiyaki, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) assured them of their commitment in training rehabilitation workers to strengthen their capacity.

“NUC has the capacity to regulate, retrain and assure you that we will partner together in developing a strategic aspects in the areas of academic contents, rehabilitation in medicine, accreditation and curriculum development and review for first degree and higher degrees.

“ It will also include monitoring and evaluation of programmess. So i will like to assure you that we are ready to support and partner with you,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders from the academia, regulatory bodies and Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) were present at the event. (NAN)

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