Let’s Learn Lessons From COVID-19 To Strengthen Our Healthcare System – NRHJN
… Says All States Must Institute AccessTo Health Insurance Fund
A clarion call has gone to Nigerian government at all levels to learn their lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic
The Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN, made the call in commemoration of the World Health Day.
In a release signed by Yinka Shokunbi and Elizabeth Carr, Publicity Secretary, it was noted that the last few years have been very hectic.
“Nigerians continue to experience one of the most difficult periods in recent history due in part – impaired economy, disrupted education and weakening healthcare system.”
“As the world marks the World Health Day 2021,
the Network for Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN), calls on all tiers of government to immediately repackage and re-energise the moribund National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to be more realistic, robust and reliable with sustainable ability to deliver “fairer” healthcare to all Nigerians.”
The theme for this year is: “Together For A Fairer, Healthier World” The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic indeed brought to the fore the weak and fragile nature of the nation’s healthcare system as many Nigerians cannot access quality healthcare at critical hours of need.
Also, the continued strike by medical doctors and other health workers in public hospitals has worsened the situation for struggling Nigerians who patronise the relatively cheaper public health centres.
“Nigerians are often compelled to seek care for which they pay out-of-pocket, have been forced to either result to borrowing or begging for funds to receive care from private hospitals or to look for alternative sources of healthcare. Several opt to patronise local or traditional medical care providers.”
The network therefore called for provision of a better and affordable basic health care for the citizens.
NRHJN also requested that the 36 States and the FCT should immediately institute access to Basic Healthcare Insurance Fund for the provision of minimum access care in Primary Healthcare for all, especially mothers and children, for comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Healthcare delivery.
To achieve “a fairer and healthier nation”, we ask the federal and state governments to ensure that care in Nigeria must be patient-centred with equitable fairplay assured all stakeholders in the healthcare sector. This would set the nation on the path towards Universal Health Coverage to attain a sustainable health system.
“As advocates of equity and rights on issues of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), we are deeply concerned about the rising incidents of insecurity in the land, occasioned by abductions, kidnappings and sexual assaults on men, women and children of all ages, ethnic tribes, faith and creed .
We are worried that the reproductive health concerns of women of all ages are greatly compromised by the high level of insecurity in the country; resulting in violent and multiple rape cases of abductees.
“The scary situation is also compounding the near nonexistent or limited choices for safe medical engagement in situations of unwanted pregnancy resulting from rape, sexual assaults and various forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV) our kidnapped women girls suffer. Nigerian women are presently living in “unfair and unhealthy environment.”
We are constrained to point out that government must take control of the situation if indeed there is to be expectation of “fairer and healthier” Nigerian nation for all.
The group observed that the dream of a fairer and heathier Nigerian nation cannot be realized if the means of livelihood for most of our rural folks particularly women is truncated at will.
“As long as there is a lack of sustainable agriculture/farming process, there will be hunger and poverty in the land.
As long as education or accessible and sustainable healthcare delivery cannot be guaranteed for the girl-child, coupled with incessant insecurity, banditry and strikes in the education and health sectors, the future will remain bleak.”
With this year’s theme “Build a Fairer and Healthier World”, the Network therefore charged government at all levels to prioritise and reorientate its policies in the interest of the average Nigerian.
“Government should sit up and re-commit to work towards actualising the Universal Health Coverage where everyone will have access to equitable and qualitative health care services.
In addition, the Network asked for a sustainable solution to incessant strikes by workers across health, education and others for a more profitable country.
“We demand that President Muhammadu Buhari and others in position of leadership in our dear country must bequeath to every Nigerian an equitable healthcare system where everyone can access quality and affordable care.
There should be no conditions attached to any Nigerian having access to comprehensive and sustainable healthcare delivery anywhere and at any time in the country.” The Network concluded.