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Stakeholders urge FG to prioritise universal health coverage, reforms

Stakeholders in the health sector have enjoined the federal government and other levels of governance to prioritise universal health coverage, and health security agenda in…

Stakeholders in the health sector have enjoined the federal government and other levels of governance to prioritise universal health coverage, and health security agenda in other to ensure quality service delivery for Nigerians. 

They made the call in Abuja during a health policy dialogue organised by the UHC 2023 Forum in collaboration with Chatham House.

They said it is also important for the new administration to get the priorities right from the onset to ensure effective reforms in the health sector.

Co-convener, UHC 2023 Forum, Dr Gafar Alawode, said there is a need to raise the accountability bar in the health sector as there are indications that it is the least accountable sector.

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He said there is a need to make health more attractive to the political class, adding that increased investment must be accompanied by increased accountability, transparency, answerability and controllability for resource utilisation, policy implementation and system performance.

Rob Yates, Executive Director, Centre for Universal Health, Chatham House,  said now is the time for universal health coverage reforms in Nigeria, adding that political commitment to universal health coverage is the first step towards achieving health for all in the country. 

Special Adviser on Health to the President,  Dr Salma Anas Ibrahim, said the healthcare reform agenda would be defined by making universal health coverage a priority. She said that this is aimed at providing financial security to bridge the gap between the less privileged and accessing quality healthcare.

She said the government would look into the implementation of policies and strategies, and address bottlenecks in the health sector.

Chair UHC 2023 Forum, Moji Makanjuola, said sequel to the conduct of the general elections and the emergence of a new political dispensation in the country, the UHC 2023 Forum would intensify its engagement with the political class to ensure their health policy priorities reflect the most important gaps in the health system and the aspirations of Nigerians. 

She said the UHC 2023 Forum is geared towards engendering critical policy reforms that will set Nigeria on the trajectory of universal health coverage.  

WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said the WHO recognises political engagement of communities and other stakeholders from all sectors to define problems and solutions and prioritise actions through policy dialogue as a critical lever in Primary Health Care operationalisation. 

He commended the forum for developing the citizen-led health agenda saying it aligns with WHO’s guidance and various World Health Assembly resolutions and strategies for getting it right from the outset.

Dr Haliru Yahaya, Emir of Shonga, Kwara State, said political will is key to improving the health sector and driving positive change and progress.

 

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