Dr Beatrice Gatuma, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), an official at the Amref Enterprise Ltd, Kenya, has advised Nigeria to drive UHC through improved community health.
Gatuma made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, while speaking at the two-day National Health Dialogue, an annual event organised by Premium Times, an online paper.
The dialogue has the theme: “Universal Health Coverage: The role of State and Non-State Actors in Healthcare funding and support”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the second edition of the dialogue is focused on seeking home-grown solutions, innovations and political commitments toward bridging funding gaps in achieving UHC in Nigeria.
Gatuma, while speaking on “Effective State-level Health Insurance initiatives: the challenges and prospects”, said that Nigeria should explore alternative means towards achieving UHC.
She explained that Kenya had been driving its coverage of health insurance in the informal sector through various alternative options.
The medic said that Rwanda had set a good example with its community health model, stressing that the East African country was leveraging on technology to drive its health insurance in rural areas.
Speaking in a Panel Discussion, Mrs. Vivianne Ihekweazu, Director of Programmes, Nigeria Health Watch
on “Gendering Access to Healthcare in Nigeria”, said that health outcomes were dire in Nigeria for women and girls, in view of significant geographical and socio-economic disparities.
Ihekweazu, who is also an Afro-Optimist with a firm belief in the hope and opportunity on the African continent, advocated for healthcare professionals to take care of citizens rather than making such care look like some charity.
She blamed ignorance for Nigerians’ inability to insist on their rights to quality healthcare delivery in the country.
“The nurse, who treats you, should do so with dignity and respect. Our women need to be enlightened to know and demand their rights,” she said.
On the Nigerian health watch, Ihekweazu said that it was a platform that informs citizens about what they should be demanding in the health sector while emphasising the need to hold policymakers accountable.
NAN also reports that the dialogue was able to bring together stakeholders in the health and development sectors, to discuss the challenges and prospects of UHC in Nigeria.
The dialogue is expected to recommend actionable strategies for sustainable health care financing in the country.