The administration of President Bola Tinubu has reinstated its commitment to making Universal Health Coverage (UHC) a top priority in its healthcare reform agenda.
This was revealed by the Special Adviser to the President on Health, Dr. Salma Anas in a health policy dialogue held in Abuja.
The dialogue, themed “Setting UHC and Health Security Priorities in the New Dispensation: Getting it Right from the Outset,” aimed to examine Nigeria’s health policy priorities in light of the recommendations from the Presidential Committee on Health Reform and the citizens-led health agenda. The goal was to chart a course of action.
Anas emphasised that the President’s objective is to bridge the gap between the underprivileged and quality healthcare access by ensuring financial security.
The APC women leader, Dr. Betta Edu commended the current administration for its initiative in removing fuel subsidies. She expressed that the President is committed to redirecting resources to subsidise every household, with a focus on investments in the health and education sectors.
The Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Yahaya highlighted that the improvement of the country’s health system heavily relies on political will and a change in attitudes. According to him, these two elements are crucial for driving positive change and progress in the country’s health sector.
The WHO country representative (WR) to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo emphasised the importance of placing the right individuals in key positions to ensure a successful start. Kazadi acknowledged the invaluable role of community involvement in shaping health policies.
Dr. Rob Yates, the Executive Director of the Centre for UHC at Chatham House, once again stressed the critical role of political commitment in achieving UHC in the country. He expressed Chatham House’s willingness to support the new state governors in advancing the UHC agenda.
Chair of the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), Mrs. Chika Offor urged the new government to address the poor health outcomes in the country with a sense of urgency. She emphasised the need for effective collaboration between stakeholders to achieve meaningful health reforms.
Chair of the UHC2023 Forum, Mrs. Moji Makanjuola highlighted the forum’s intensified engagement with the political class to ensure that health policy priorities align with the most pressing gaps in the health system. She described the event as an opportunity to articulate available evidence on policy reforms and forge a consensus on health and health security priorities.
The UHC 2023 Forum, a coalition consisting of various stakeholders such as donor agencies, development partners, civil society organisations and the media, aims to utilise the policy window created by the political transition to prioritise UHC and health security. The forum has established a strong partnership with the global policy think-tank, Chatham House UK and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to elevate the political profile of health in the country. Additionally, it creates a citizens-led health agenda for participation by major political parties in Nigeria.