Health Ministry, WHO Walk To Mark Universal Health Coverage Day

In line with efforts to sensitise the public on the need to prioritise their health, the World Health Organisation (WHO) alongside the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners staged a walk to commemorate the 2023 Universal Health Coverage Day.

Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Muhammad Pate at a press briefing after the walk held on Tuesday, December 12, 2023, in Abuja said the aim of the celebration was to ensure that no one was left behind in access to quality healthcare services that is affordable.

Pate stated, “it’s an important day because it takes into consideration the needs of all people regardless of their income, where they live, gender, and other differences.

“It’s a day for everyone to think about how to move and ensure that everybody has access to quality healthcare services, its theme is time for action, and that action requires actors to take steps at different levels.

“What we did this morning, walking from the Unity Fountain to the Ministry of Health is exemplifying the actions that individuals can take to take care of their own health to ensure that they are fit, they exercise and eat well, they don’t engage in risky behavior that exposes them to illnesses so they can produce health”.

The Minister said Universal Health Coverage was a political decision, adding that a country had to decide not to leave its vulnerable, poor, and differently-abled citizens behind.

Therefore, “the Federal Government is committed to work towards it but it also needs partnership with state governments, with our development partners, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the media to think positively and change the direction otherwise, the lack of progress that had been witnessed with previous effort can continue if there is no genuine consensus in Nigeria to achieve this aspiration.

On his part, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Tunji Alausa informed that there would be a signing of a compact with the states later in the day, clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Government and that of the states. This, he opined would bring more coordination that will yield better results.

He further disclosed that, henceforth the Health Insurance Scheme would be in different categories and would accommodate certain ailments which hitherto were not included:

“We’ve designed different levels of coverage, one important level of coverage is that people will get a caesarian section if they need it. And as we escalate, there are different plans that have been put in place even by the National Health Insurance Agency and the State Insurance Agency whereby all diseases will be covered depending on the plan you’ve chosen”, Alausa explained.

Also, WHO Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Walter Mulombo who averred that the world was lagging behind in terms of Universal Health Coverage said the new Nigeria Health Sector Renewal Initiative was an example of how a government was in alliance with international best practices:

“The new investment initiative provides the hope that will change the course in Nigeria, if we can do it in Nigeria, it would influence Africa and create a ripple effect globally.

“The WHO would be signing the compact today alongside other UN agencies and partners to support Nigeria to accelerate health”, he said.

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