The National Council on Health (NCH) is a prescription of the National Health Act (2014). Structurally, the NCH is made up of the Council and the Technical Committee supported by the Secretariat (domiciled in the Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics) as stipulated in the National Health Act 2014.
The Council is made of:
- The Minister, who is the Chairman
- The Minister of State for Health
- The Commissioners responsible for matters relating to Health in the states of the federation
- The Secretary responsible for Health in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health is the Secretary to the National Council.
The National Council usually meets not less than two times in a year.
The National Council has powers to regulate its proceedings.
The importance of the NCH as the highest policy making institution in the Nigeria health sector is underscored in the following functions:
Responsible for the protection, promotion, improvement and maintenance of the health of the citizens of Nigeria, and the formulation of policies and prescription of measures necessary for achieving the responsibilities specified under this paragraph;
Offer advice to the Government of the Federation, through the Minister, on matters relating to the development of national guidelines on health and the implementation and administration of the National Health Policy;
Ensure the delivery of basic health services to the people of Nigeria and prioritize other health services that may be provided within available resources;
Advise the Government of the Federation on technical matters relating to the organization, delivery and distribution of health services;
Issue and promote adherence to norms and standards, and provide guidelines on health matters and any other matter that affects the health status of people;
Identify health goals and priorities for the nation as a whole and monitor the progress of their implementation;
Promote health and healthy lifestyles
Facilitate and promote the provision of health services for the management, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases;
Ensure that children between the ages of zero and five years and pregnant women are immunized with vaccines against infectious diseases;
Coordinate health services rendered by the Federal Ministry with health services rendered by the States, Local Governments, Wards, and private health care providers and provide such additional health services as may be necessary to establish a comprehensive national health system;
Integrate the health plan of the Federal Ministry of Health and State Ministries of Health annually; and
Perform such other duties as may be assigned to the National Council by the Minister
The Technical Committee is composed of
- Permanent Secretary of the FMOH as Chairman
- All Directors of the Federal Ministry of Health
- Legal Adviser of the Federal Ministry of Health
- Permanent Secretaries and two Directors (one of whom shall be responsible for health services) of all State Ministries of Health and FCT Department responsible for Health
- One representative each of the Armed Forces Medical Corps
- One representative of the Prisons Medical Services
- One representative each of the Parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Health
- One representative of all statutory health regulatory agencies
- Chairman of the Committee of Chief Executives of Teaching and Specialist Hospitals and Federal Medical Centers
- One representative each of the registered health professional associations including traditional medicine practitioners and alternative health care providers
- One representative of the private health care providers
Functions of the Technical Committee
The Technical Committee shall advise the National Council on its functions and any other matter that the National Council may refer to it.
The Technical Committee shall strive to reach its decisions by consensus but where a decision cannot be reached by consensus, the decision of the majority of the members shall prevail and be regarded as the decision of the Technical Committee.
The Technical Committee may create one or more ad hoc committees of experts in health matters to advise it on any matter with which it is concerned.
The Technical Committee shall determine the proceedings for its meetings, and the quorum for its meetings shall be not less than one-third of its membership, including the person presiding at any such meeting.
Procedure for the NCH
This embodies the following:
- Two-day Technical Committee Meeting Chaired by the Permanent Secretary of Health (PSH), Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH)
- One-day secretariat administrative activities/side meetings and
- Two-day Council deliberation where memoranda submitted by the Technical Committee are considered and decisions taken.
Resolutions of the NCH
Decisions of Council known as the RESOLUTIONS are adopted to urge/request States and the Federal to undertake particular actions related to the key health issues addressed during deliberations. These resolutions are based on memoranda submitted by stakeholders to the Secretariat of NCH on topical health issues and deliberated on by the Technical Committee and submitted to the Council for their consideration.
The implementation status of resolutions, which is a performance review of actions taken towards implementation of previous resolutions of Council by stakeholders is usually deliberated on during the Technical Committee meeting and the Council meeting.
STATE COUNCIL ON HEALTH (SCH)
The SCH is the equivalent of the NCH at the State level. The structure of the SCH embodies three organs – the Council, chaired by the Honourable Commissioner for Health; the Technical Committee chaired by the PSH; and the Secretariat which is domiciled in the Department of Planning Research and Statistics of the State Ministry of Health. The Council is composed of the Hon. Commissioner, the Permanent Secretary, SMOH Directors, CEOs of SMOH Parastaltals, LGA Health Administrators/Directors PHC, State chapters of health professional organizations; and other stakeholders in the State similar to those for the NCH.