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Sanwo-Olu at Chatham house, charges world leaders on sustainable healthcare system

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…Says LASG has consistently increased budgetary allocation, efficiency in healthcare

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to world  leaders, global think-tank and public office holders to work towards building a sustainable healthcare system for all and facilitate access for the poor and under-served.

Speaking on “Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria: Optimizing Institutional Opportunities and Partnerships for Success” at the weekend at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, Governor Sanwo-Olu charged global think-tank to optimise institutional opportunities and partnerships for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“To achieve UHC, developing countries must first focus on offering their residents a basic minimum set of healthcare services, provided free at the point of care using subsidy, controlled premiums or at a pre-set tariff system, within government-regulated facilities either public or affiliated private,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State as the most populous city in Africa, a financial hub and Africa’s 5th Largest Economy on the continent, has strategically strengthened the health system in pursuit of Universal Health Coverage.

He said Lagos State has been using policies to strengthen its health systems, pushing toward the achievement of UHC, which the State considers a journey and not a destination.

“In Lagos State, we believe that policy is the most effective tool that governments can deploy in the pursuit of stronger health systems and eventually approaching UHC. The right policies will lead to the development of robust health financing systems that will serve the needs of our huge and increasing population,” he said.

Speaking on some of the policies of his administration to strengthen the health system, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Government has consistently increased its budgetary allocation and efficiency to healthcare over the years, noting that the desire of his government is to eventually match the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent.

He said his administration, through its capital infrastructure blueprint agenda, is upgrading and renovating its existing primary and secondary health facilities in the short term and it has commenced building new designed fit-for-purpose primary, secondary and specialist health facilities for the future.

“We recognise that the Government cannot cover the funding gap in the health system without support from the private sector. In a bid to encourage public-private partnerships, we set up various institutions such as the Office of Public Private Partnerships (OPPPs) and IBILE Holdings, a private company owned by Lagos State for the purpose of engaging with the private sector. These institutions are mandated to facilitate and fast-track PPP opportunities in Lagos State.

“We understand the need for proper governance within the administrative structure of the health system and so we inaugurated boards for all the agencies within the Lagos State Ministry of Health. This has gone a long way to strengthen the capacity of the hierarchical sub-agencies, keeping them focused on their mandates.

“We believe in health insurance as a tool that we can leverage to quickly cover ground in our quest for UHC and so we have thrown the full weight of our support behind the newly established National Health Insurance Act, and mandated our Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to domesticate and enrol residents of Lagos into the Lagos State Social Health Insurance Scheme.

“We are leveraging partnerships with Global organisations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Fund amongst others to explore innovative ways to strengthen our primary health system. In fact, I believe that such organisations’ decisions to directly fund a sub-national like Lagos State is a testament to the clarity of our vision and our drive to achieve results,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that his administration has concluded some innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to modernise the equipment in the State’s secondary health centres and set up specialised health facilities.

“We have commenced two pilot projects: The Lagos State Oncology Centre and the Omotunde Ajoke Cole Smart Hospital. The success of these projects will mark a new dawn in our health system, where the best of the public and private sectors come together to provide world-class affordable healthcare.

“We are working hard to improve the quality of human resources we have in our health centres. We are also using a system of meritocracy to appoint Medical Directors (MDs) in health centres and ensure continuous medical and administrative education.

“We understand the critical role played by logistics within our health system and we are making sure that people, essential medicines, and consumables are easily transported within our health system,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said while Lagos State Government is working on innovative mechanisms to pay for healthcare, it also needs to ensure that it is building a healthcare delivery system that can provide decent healthcare services to the people of the State.

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3 injured as 2 armed drones from Lebanon explode in Israel

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Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Lebanon carrying explosives exploded in northern Israel on Tuesday, lightly injuring three people, Israeli authorities said, amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran and its allies.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the armed drones crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and exploded in the area of Beit Hillel in the Galilee.

Three people sustained light injuries, Israel’s state-owned Kan reported.

The drones did not trigger air raid sirens, and the military said the incident was under review.

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CBN expresses commitment to harnessing digital technologies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is committed to harnessing the power of digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

Mr Yemi Cardoso, CBN Governor, said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a strategic institutions tour by participants of Senior Executive Course 46 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Cardoso, who was represented by Dr Bala Bello, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, said that digital technologies would also boost productivity and create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.

According to him, the apex bank has already deployed robust digital technologies in driving most of its processes towards achieving optimal performance.

He said that NIPSS, as a foremost national policy think-tank, had made invaluable contributions to the socio-political and macroeconomic development of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, not surprised at the apt and relevant choice of your research theme.

“The CBN and NIPSS have had a long-standing and robust working relationship since the establishment of the institute. This has culminated into positive mutual benefits for the two institutions.

“The CBN, on the one hand, has provided infrastructural support to the institute through construction of an auditorium and a hostel, in addition to the provision of technical support.

“On the other hand, NIPSS has supported the technical capacity of the CBN through the training of some personnel both at senior executive course level and intermediate course cadre,” he said.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said that the study visiting would be representing the institute in getting information from operators of the apex bank on the relevance of digital technology to developing jobs for Nigerian youths.

According to Omotayo, a lot of progress has been made globally in using digital systems to run the economy.

“The more of our activities that we can put in digital format, the more we get the opportunity of providing employment access to a whole lot of the 120 million active Nigerians.

“We at NIPSS always knock at the frontiers of knowledge, checking what is going to happen in the immediate future.

“We are working towards a system where we believe that almost every service can be delivered digitally,” he said.

The Acting Director, Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Lafi Bala Keffi, commended the NIPSS study group for its interest in the apex bank.

She urged the participants to explore the time-tested culture of NIPSS, which is to diagnose national, profer practical solutions and recommend ways of making such solutions realisable.

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NCAA suspends licences of 3 private jet owners

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Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended licences of three Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF), otherwise known as private jet owners, over alleged failure to comply with regulatory requirements.

Acting Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that after issuing a stern warning to the PNCFs in March, the authority deployed its men to monitor activities of private jet owners at airport terminals across the country.

He said that consequent upon the heightened surveillance, three private operators were found to have violated the annexure provisions of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2023.

Najomo further stated that NCAA would be carrying out a re-evaluation of regulatory requirements compliance of all PNCFs owners within the next 72 hours.

This, he said, this was in line with the authority’s zero tolerance for violations of regulations.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a re-evaluation of all holders of PNCF be carried out on or before April 19, to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.

“All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours,” he said.
Najomo recalled that in 2023, the use of private jets for commercial purposes had gotten the attention of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), who issued marching orders for cessation of such acts.

He said that in March, NCAA issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for non-commercial flights, PNCF, against engaging in the carriage of passenger cargo or mail for hire and reward.

Najomo said that the riot act was also directed at existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders who utilised aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.

“It must be emphasised that only the aircraft listed in the Operation Specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specification.

“NCAA wishes to reiterate to the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid AOC issued by the NCAA, when they wish to procure charter operation services,” he said.

The NCAA boss, thereafter, encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to promptly report such illegal activities to the authority for necessary action.

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