The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, says Federal Government is committed to providing quality healthcare services to the citizens, including People Living With Disabilities (PLWD).
Ehanire, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abdullah, said this in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of the second International Conference of Medical Rehabilitation Professionals.
Ehanire said that it was the desire of President Muhammadu Buhari to achieve universal health coverage.
The theme of the three-day conference is “strategic initiatives for sustainable medical rehabilitation services in Nigeria and Sub-sahara Africa.”
The minister said that the theme was the right choice, in providing appropriate, sustainable medical rehabilitation services, especially for people living with disabilities in the country.
“It will also provide meaningful opportunities to cross-examine ideas and means of rehabilitation services to a greater height.
‘’The National health’s act 2014 has clearly categorised the provision of essential healthcare services for the country, particularly the vulnerable population,” the Minister stated.
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In her speech, Chairman, Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board of Nigeria (MRTBN), Dr. Umo Udom, said rehabilitation was essential along with prevention, promotion, treatment and support in addressing the full scope of health needs of a population and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3.
“Goal three is to ensure healthy lives and promote well being of all ages. Rehabilitation may be needed by anyone with a health condition who experience some form of limitation in functioning such as mobility or vision,” Udom said.
She said that there was an urgent need for rehabilitation across the country and sub-Sahara Africa, saying that more than 50 per cent of people that require rehabilitation services have not to access it due to certain barriers.
Some of the barriers, according to her, include ignorance, lack of access to rehabilitation, lack of strategic planning for services resulting in uneven distribution of service capacity and infrastructure.
She also listed complex referral system, lack of coordination and collaboration among the different health sector, poor communication, and coordination among providers across the health sector as some other barriers.
Udom said failure to meet rehabilitation needs could limit activities, participation and decrease quality of life.
The Chairman said sustainability in rehabilitation services could be achieved through a transformative solution that requires cooperation across different levels of the health care system.
“Rehabilitation needs to be integrated into national health plans and budget, moving towards the goal of universal coverage,“ Udom sqid.
According to her, there should be strong leadership and governance at the ministry of health and effective coordination mechanism with other relevant sectors.
The Registrar of MRTBN, Dr. Olufunke Akanle, said the WHO’s global disability action for 2014 to 2021, was to remove barriers and improve access to health services and programmes.
She said that the objective was to strengthen and extend rehabilitation, habitation, assertive technology, assistance, and supportive services to community-based rehabilitation.
Akanle also stressed the need to strengthen the collection of relevant internationally comparable data on disability support research and related services.