World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is supporting Nigeria’s legislative network in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), through the collaboration of the European Union.
Dr Clement Peter, WHO Officer in Charge (OIC), made the disclosure in a goodwill message at the 3rd Annual Summit of the Legislative Network for UHC on Thursday in Abuja with the theme “Efficiency in the Health Sector and the Role of Legislators’’.
UHC is the ability of citizens to access quality healthcare services without going through financial hardships.
Peter said WHO would continue to leverage on its unique network to share lessons learnt from the country through the regional office to other countries of Africa.
He expressed the hope that the summit would generate consensus around the first-ever Legislative Health Agenda for UHC and catalyse increased legislative action for health at the national and sub-national levels.
Kwabena Twum-Nuamah, Chairman, Ghana Parliamentary Committee on Health, said many constituents in African countries were unable to access healthcare because they do not have the means to pay out of pocket.
He said Africa was in a position to help its people if governments around the continent could implement the necessary programmes.
He added that “as parliamentarians, we stand to gain the most when we achieve UHC.”
Dr Olumide Okunola, the representative of the World Bank, said it was the responsibility of legislators in the country to ensure that Nigerians received quality healthcare services, regardless of who was paying for them.
According to him, this gives hope for the future.
Dr Olamide Okulaja, the Director, Advocacy and Communications, PharmAccess Foundation, said a healthy population was key to achieving Nigeria’s vision of improving the economic wellbeing of the nation.
Okulaja said the legislative network promised to leverage on support from states and donor partners for health financing necessary toward the achievement of UHC by providing specific information to parliamentarians.
He added that the foundation would continue to leverage on digital platforms to improve access, quality and create innovative mechanisms in solving the financial challenges limiting the attainment of UHC in the country.
A don, Prof. Muhammed Yakassai, who identified funding as a major factor affecting the attainment of UHC, added that the factor was discovered after a tour of several institutions.
He noted that “the issue with funding include inadequate funding for health in the national budget, leakages within the healthcare sector of the country.”
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit is expected to set the tone for more inclusive legislative interactions at national and sub-national levels on health legislation and enhance legislative roles for the advancement of a legislative agenda to achieve UHC in Nigeria.