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Nigeria’s Efforts In Quest For UHC Discouraging—USAID

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Aminat Isah, Abuja

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has described as discouraging, the efforts of Nigeria government towards the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The Country Director (USAID) Health Policy Plus Project, Dr Gafar Alawode, stated this in his keynote address at the just concluded 3rd Annual Health Conference organized by the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), in Abuja.

According to Alawode, a lot needs to be done to scale up the performance of Nigeria in her pursuit of achieving UHC, saying that UHC cuts across all the health-related SDGs with a number of objectives such as equity in access to health services relative to need and not just the ability to pay.

“UHC means that all people and communities can use the preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need without experiencing financial hardship.

“The quality of health services should be good enough to improve the health of those receiving services and financial risk protection for all,” Said Alawode

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, while declaring open the conference, themed ’ Nigeria’s increasing population, achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal 9SDG) 3: Any hope?’’ said the theme is apt as all hands are on deck towards the actualization of UHC in Nigeria.

Reiterating the Federal Government’s, commitment towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and other national health targets in the country, said notable and evident in the budgetary provision for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration,

Ehanire said the government having recognised the importance of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in National Health System as part of social protection architecture for all Nigerians, is further committed to meeting the targets by implementing policies and programmes that would ensure coverage of women and children.

‘’Health is at the core of societal development, because the development of a society is dependent on its human capital; and for the human capital to effectively function, citizens must be healthy.

‘’The administration of president Muhammadu Buhari is committed to institutionalizing policies to strengthen Nigeria’s health sector through the development of health human capacity, improving infrastructure and positioning the entire system for better health care delivery.

‘’This will discourage health tourism which is a huge loss of human and financial resources’’, Dr Ehanire said.

The President of ANHEJ, Hassan Zaggi, in his address call for collaboration with journalists in the area of effective coverage of the health sector between Government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and international organisations as it would help strengthen the citizens knowledge about health issues.

He urged all health organisations to see the association as a reliable partners to work with in ensuring the needed health information gets Nigerians at all levels.

He also call on the Federal Government for continued provision of an enabling environment for medical and health experts to put their best for the successful growth of the sector.

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