FG to prioritise universal health coverage

The Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr Salma Anas-Kolo, has said that President Bola Tinubu’s healthcare reform agenda will prioritise Universal Health Coverage.

Dr Anas-Kolo made this known on Wednesday when stakeholders, including donor agencies, development partners, Civil Society Organisations, and the media, had a health policy dialogue in Abuja.

The dialogue was tagged “Setting UHC and health security priorities in the new dispensation: Getting it right from the outset.”

According to the World Health Organisation, UHC means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

“It covers the full continuum of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care across the life course,” WHO noted.

Anas-Kolo noted that President Tinubu’s blueprint on health, which he presented during his electioneering campaigns, would be implemented.

Anas said this on Wednesday in Abuja, at a Health Policy Dialogue with the theme: Setting UHC and Health Security Priorities in the New Dispensation: Getting it Right from the Outset.

“The President’s objective was to bridge the divide between the underprivileged and accessing quality healthcare by providing financial security,” she said.

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Also speaking, the WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo, said the commitment of the administration to adopt recommendations in the Presidential Health Reform Committee report is a good starting point to ‘get it right from the outset’.

Dr Mulombo said implementing health governance, leadership and institutional reforms, health infrastructure upgrades, pharmaceutical supply chain and research and development, health service delivery, pandemic preparedness and response, health financing system reforms, and human resources will strengthen the health system.

“Implementation of these components will see the health system strengthened to meet present day challenges, including reorientation of Primary Health Care for improved service delivery, improved preparedness and response to pandemics and other health emergencies, and rethinking of solutions to the huge challenge of ensuring adequate, skilled and well distributed health care workers in the midst of rising migration of critical professionals,” he said.

On his part, the Chatham House Executive Director, Centre for UHC, Dr Rob Yates, said his organisation will support the government in achieving the UHC agenda.

According to him, political commitment is critical to achieving the UHC.

The Chair of the Health Sector Reform Coalition, Chika Offor, urged the new government to address the poor health outcomes in the country.

The Emir of Shonga, Dr Haliru Yahaya, said the improvement of the country’s health system relied greatly on political will and a change in attitudes.

Yahaya said that those two elements were crucial in driving positive change and progress in the country’s health.

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