BENIN – Israel Arekha, Executive Director of Connected Advocacy for Empowerment and Youth Development Initiative, has called on the Nigeria government to keep to its promise of making quality healthcare accessible and affordable to her citizenry.
Orekha, who made the call while delivering a paper in a one-day summit to mark the 2019 Nigerian Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day said, that on September 23, 2019, leaders from all United Nations member-states, including Nigeria, unanimously committed themselves to achieving universal health coverage by 2030.
“193 nations upheld health as a human right and pledged that all persons everywhere get the quality healthcare services they need without facing financial hardship.
“A viable and people (grassroots) oriented Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC) is key to achieving UHC and in Nigeria, there has been concerted effort but the PHC system is dogged by multiple challenges.
This is largely because billions of naira reportedly spent over the decades on health facilities by governments at different levels were mismanaged. While thousands of PHCs are lying waste, government has continued to build more across the country and we must have plans for sustaining and equipping the old ones.
“We are calling on Nigeria government at all levels to translate these commitments made at the UN into real change for the people because universal health coverage is a nation’s promise to its citizens, and it’s time that leaders kept their words”, Orekha said.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, said the state government had made health sector a priority.
“The state government has saddled itself with the responsibility of revamping the various PHCs in the state with no fewer than 20 pilot centers so far renovated and solar power installed to provide electricity.”