The Health Sector Reform Coalition and partners have called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on Nigeria’s healthcare system.
The group, which includes Health Sector Reform Coalition, Save The Children International Nigeria, Labour Unions, Trade Unions and political parties, made the demand at a forum in Abuja to mark this year’s World Universal Health Coverage Day.
The group said the call became necessary following emerging health threats, such as the high disease burden, high mortality rate, poor access to health care facilities and inadequate political will. Hence the call to also implement the Vulnerable Group Fund of the National Health Insurance Act, it said.
In a joint communique signed by the Chairperson, Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), Chika Offor, it also called for the prioritising of health spending to achieve the Abuja Declaration spending target, minimising wastage in the health sector, and taming the worrisome trend of health workers attrition, among other health system-strengthening measures.
Mrs Offor noted with concern the slow progress made by the country towards the realisation of the UHC due to the sub-optimal implementation of the extant relevant laws, poor leadership and coordination of the various segments and tiers of the public health sector as well as weak voices of the citizens in demanding better health and accountability.
She lauded Nigerian healthcare workers who she said have endured to contribute towards improved healthcare service delivery in spite of poor working conditions, among other factors.
She emphasised that political parties and their flag bearers are being engaged with the Citizen-led Health Agenda, articulated by the UHC 2023 Forum in order to bring key health policy thrusts and priorities to the political front-burner in the next dispensation.
Similarly, the group pledged to continue working with present and future political leaders at various levels towards realising the goal of universal health coverage by 2030.
The Advocacy, Campaign and Policy Manager of Save the Children International (SCI), Nigeria, Ifedilichukwu Innocent, expressed displeasure with the political party candidates campaign agenda, as the wellbeing of the children were rarely mentioned in their plans.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Fany Olumoye and Tony Okerafor