While briefing the press to commemorate the 2020 Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said “UHC may not seem an easy target to attain, considering the dynamics of our health system, but it is actually quite achievable.” To Dr. Ehanire, if all stakeholders can agree to collaborate in “one unified health system and advance away from the present fragmented state in which various stakeholders work in silos with separate visions”, then UHC where no one is left behind is achievable in Nigeria,
The Honourable Minister of Health said there are unintended consequences where parallel structures functioning within the health system, with inefficiencies and duplication of efforts.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire’s revelation about the status of Nigeria vis-à-vis Universal Health Coverage priorities of President Muhammade Buhari’s Next Level Agenda came to fore Saturday, 12th of December, 2020 wherein he disclosed that “Most of Nigeria’s Health Sector policies and Strategies are directed at making Universal Health Coverage a reality. While a lot of noteworthy milestones have been attained in our journey towards UHC, much work still lies ahead of us, as we approach the 2030 SDG finish line.”
Apart from Pressmen, Health Partners that were present at the briefing include, National Bureau of Statistics, World Health Organization (WHO), Results for Development (R4D), Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), IPAS Nigeria (For Health, Access, Rights), Legislative Advocacy Initiative for Sustainable Development Goals (LISDEL), Nigerian Association of Physiotherapists and most prominently, Channels Television.
The health partners expressed goodwill messages and commitments while they also congratulated the Honourable Minister of Health on commemorating this year’s 2020 Universal Health Coverage especially with the way the commemoration was also done with a walk which took off from Eagle Square featuring the Dr. Osagie Ehanire along with some of his Directors, some Heads of Agencies and Partners.
The Honourable Minister of Health said further that the need to protect everyone from financial hardship at the point of accessing health services is the major focus of the 2020 UHC Day. He added that the theme of the 2020 commemoration which is Health for All: Protect Everyone “reemphasizes the importance of of ensuring that no one is left behind as we expand our healthcare towards Universal coverage with health insurance.”
Dr. Ehanire itemized that “deliberate and concerted investments in the health system are required from both Government and private sector actors.” He said while the Government has over the years increased investment in the health sector especially through the National Health Act and the Basic HealthCare Provision Fund, Government’s capacity in sustaining this, the Minister said is limited by prevailing fiscal constraints and revenue. It was at this point that Dr. Osagie Ehanire appealed to the private sector and development partners to increase investments in the health sector.
The Health Minister also listed his initiative in support of UHC to include scaling up Primary Health Care Development Agency; National Health Insurance Scheme; National Centre for Disease Control; Family Health benchmarks; and introducing the National Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance System, the latter he said will provide the missing link in Nigeria’s Health System and reduce not less than 50% of the maternal and child mortality in the country.
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director of Media & P.R., FMOH.