With Nigeria unveiling strategic interventions to accelerate Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health security by 2030, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed the need for the government to invest in primary healthcare as the backbone of a resilient health system.
This call was made at an event to unveil Nigeria’s Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative and the signing of the Health Sector Renewal Compact by the Federal, States and Development Partners, as part of the global Universal Health Coverage Day commemoration in Abuja, on 12 December 2023,
In his remark, Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu said that his administration is prioritizing and improving Nigeria’s health sector through massive investments and the allocation of increased funds to the sector in the proposed 2024 budget.
He said delivering improved quality health is an underpinning factor in my promise of Renewed Hope to Nigerians.
“That hope is ignited here today with the support of all multilateral partners and agencies; health is back on the front burner. This occasion marks an opportunity for collective reflection and action as we recommit ourselves to the noble pursuit of health for all, he said.
Agreeing that health is a fundamental human right, he restated Nigeria’s commitment to achieving UHC and health security.
WHO Director General, Dr Tedros giving his special remark as Nigeria joins the world to commemorate UHC Day
He further noted the importance of Primary Healthcare in building a resilient, integrated health system and announced plans for a comprehensive revamp of physical infrastructure, and equipment, and the re-training of frontline health workers starting from 2024.
Delivering his special remark, the Director General (DG), of WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, commended the government of Nigeria for the political choice of aspiring to achieve UHC through the Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative; saying launching the initiative could be a turning point for Nigeria and Africa.
“The scale of your ambition is a model for other countries and if implemented, it will send a powerful message throughout the continent that UHC is possible, and can be done. If a country as large and complex as Nigeria can achieve UHC, then any country can.
UHC is a political choice, but it is not a choice that’s made just on paper. It must be met in the budget and policy decisions inside and outside the health sector.
Most of all, it must be met by investing in PHCs, which is the most inclusive, equitable cost-effective and efficient path to Universal Health Coverage, met by investing in PHCs.
In a call for collaborative action, the DG said achieving UHC is not a job for the Ministry of Health alone, it takes all of the government and all of society approach,
Pledging WHO’s continual support and partnership to the government to assist its quest in achieving UHC, he said “WHO is proud to have been your partner on this journey so far, working with Federal, State Ministries of Health, Development Partners, Civil Societies and Private sectors to develop the lastest Nigeria Country Cooperation Strategy”.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq affirmed the total commitment of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to the implementation of the signed Compact towards Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians.
Mr AbdulRaham on behalf of the governors said they will align with the provisions of the document by domesticating it into practicable and actionable policies and programmes.
He said “The NGF secretariat will move to provide support in tracking and implementing the outcomes of this Compact. I affirm the commitment of the NGF and to remain steadfast in its determination to make Universal Health Coverage a reality for every Nigerian.”
UHC Day is commemorated on December 12 annually to celebrate the progress towards health for all and raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems in achieving UHC. The theme for this year’s UHC Day is: “Health for All: Time for Action.”
The big picture about UHC is ensuring that everyone, everywhere can access the support they need and stay healthy without being driven into financial hardship.
On the sideline to mark the 2023 UHC Day, a 3.5-kilometre commemorative walk led by the Coordinating Minister of Health, Professor Muhammad Pate, accompanied by the state minister of health, Dr Alausa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo as well as heads of agencies, CSOs, and partners in the health sector.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Nigeria.