A Consultant Medical Parasitologist, Prof. Wellington Oyibo, on Sunday urged both the Federal and State Governments to intensify strategies in the health system to allow everyone have access to healthcare services.
Oyibo, who is of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Lagos, Idi-Araba, made the call in an interview with newmen in Lagos.
He spoke in commemoration of the `World Health Day’ celebrated annually on April 7.
The Day is a global health awareness day celebrated under the sponsorship of the World Health Organisation (WHO), as well as other related organisations.
The theme of this year’s celebration is: “Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere’’.
According to him, the country’s health system is weak and therefore needs to be strengthened.
“The strategies that we should bring about to ensure that there is care is increased Universal Coverage for many diseases.
“There is a long scheme attached to it, the supply scheme. There are some medicines which are not produced in Nigeria, they are imported and never given for free.
“We have to begin to see the local opportunities that we have that can get people sorted out for different conditions.
“As a country, we should do a small analysis, look at the opportunities, our strengths and see areas where we can quickly intervene.
“Some of the areas of opportunities for us to look at when strengthening the system should be to develop on the knowledge that Traditional Birth Attendants have.
“For some, local herbs is what they can afford, we need to look into that as well.
“Also, affordability is still something that we should create access to, when we have cheaper medicines, people will go for them. We also need to create awareness, train and monitor our healthcare workers,’’ Oyibo said.
The parasitologist, therefore, advised governments to democratise care and bring everyone on board.
He explained that democratisation of healthcare meant there should be corporate monitoring where the right provisions through different channels of mobilisation could come on board.
He also called for the establishment of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in facilities to create access to care.
“Now people are having PPP established in facilities to create access to care like the one that happened in LUTH where you have the Sovereign Wealth Fund coming to support Radiology and Radio Diagnosis and Chemotherapy.
“So, there are things they will begin to do now which we were asking people abroad to do but now, we can do them here in Nigeria.
“These are the kinds of strategies they should deploy,’’ he said.
According to him, Universal health coverage talks about access to care and what you want to make available, so we must look at it with the lens of our healthcare system.
He said investment was key to attaining universal coverage, saying it has to do with all the resources needed as well as enforcement of available policies.
Besides, Oyibo said health coverage was the concern of everyone, the healthcare team and the population, as the population can pool and demand.