The World Health Organisation has tasked Nigeria to find its pathway to Universal Health Coverage, UHC, taking into cognizance of the social, political and economic circumstances of its people.
Noting that healthcare is mostly financed out of pocket by households in Nigeria, the global health body advised that a political commitment is needed to build strong health systems to avoid impoverishing the people.
The WHO said although there is no single pathway to ensuring health for all, investing in primary care, disease prevention and health promotion are sure avenues to exploit.
It said such health systems do not only provide the best health outcomes but are the best defence against disease outbreaks and other health emergencies in a country.
Walter Mulombo, the WHO Country Representative, in a statement at the 6th Annual Conference of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) on Thursday said the poorest households are more impacted by the inefficiencies in Universal Health Coverage and have less access to life-saving health services.
‘‘More than half the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty every year because of the costs of paying for care out of their own pockets.
‘‘While the poorest households feel the heaviest impact of these inefficiencies and poor health outcomes as they have limited access to essential health services, the negative externalities pose huge losses to the Nigerian economy.
‘‘But there must be a political commitment to building a strong health system, based on primary care, with an emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion. Such health systems do not only provide the best health outcomes; they are also the best defence against outbreaks and other health emergencies.
‘‘All countries must find their own way, in the context of their own social, political and economic circumstances. But the foundation everywhere must be a political commitment to building a strong health system, based on primary care, with an emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion”.
Universal Health Coverage is the provision and access to preventive and curative health services for citizens at an affordable cost without the risk of financial hardship as a result of paying out of pocket.
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