Health Authorities Urged to Achieve Universal Coverage – THISDAYLIVE – THISDAY Newspapers

Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi 
The Center for Social Justice (CSJ) has called on the Nigeria health authorities to make concerted effort towards strengthening the nation’s health insurance system in line with the United Nations resolution on Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) by the year 2030.
The call was made yesterday by the Programme Manager of the CSJ, Mr. Fidelis Onyejegbu, during a one-day validation meeting of the policy brief on full implementation of the NHIA Act at the Hazibal Suites, Bauchi.
Onyejegbu also challenged the health authorities to ensure that the country is not left behind in achieving the goal.
He said that achieving this called for the strengthening of the country’s health insurance system, which is one sure way for Nigeria to achieve being a signatory to all the UN resolutions and charters.
The programme manager stressed that the health insurance scheme needed to be well strengthened, structured and available, especially for the vulnerable people, pregnant women and children under five years across the country.
According to him, the SDGs 3, which provided for health and well-being of people could only be achieved through effective healthcare service delivery via a functional health insurance scheme.
He also explained that the validation meeting is targeted at improving the realization of the right to health in Nigeria as being implemented by the CSJ and funded by USAID under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project.
The goal of the project, according to him, is to contribute to the improvements in the realisation of the right to health in Nigeria through enhancing respect for extant laws and policies, reforming laws and policies as well as mainstreaming transparency and accountability in public health sector expenditure.
He also pointed out that the objectives are to build the capacity of cluster members and critical civil society stakeholders to effectively intervene for the improvement of the right to health; improve legal and governance frameworks of the health sector through legislative and implementation advocacy; enhance stakeholder participation to improve transparency and accountability in health budgeting; and increase awareness and sensitization of rights and duties on the right to health.
Onyejegbu stated that at the end of the meeting, it was expected that the Bauchi State health contributory scheme would be made more functional and effective to improve healthcare delivery services to all manner of people in the state in accordance with the NHIA Act.
Earlier in her opening remarks, Coordinator of Journalists for Public Health Development and Initiative (J4PD), Ms. Elizabeth Nange Kah, stressed the importance of using health insurance to reach people with quality healthcare service delivery.
Kah, therefore, stressed the importance of the validation meeting as it would further strengthen the Bauchi State health contributory scheme in line with the objectives of establishing it by the state government.
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