The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Nigeria has the resources to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, the date agreed on by UN member states.
The WHO Nigeria Country Representative, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, said this in Abuja on Friday at a news conference ahead of “World Health Day 2018″ and celebration of WHO’s 70th Anniversary.
The World Health Day 2018 will be commemorated on April 7 with the theme: “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere.”
The organisation will also on the same day celebrate 70 years of its existence.
Alemu expressed optimism that Nigeria’s resources , if properly channeled, will enable the country to achieve UHC goal.
He said the main objective of UHC was to protect people from financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets, thereby reducing poverty.
The WHO official added that Nigeria, like other countries of the world, Nigeria was expected to be able to provide free healthcare services to citizens by 2030.
Alemu explained that achieving UHC by 2030 was one of the targets nations of the world set when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted in 2015.
He said Nigeria had already developed a UHC framework and all that was left to do was to channel resources appropriately and to ensure that the private sector and citizens were involved in the implementation process.
He noted that the Primary Health Care (PHC) was the mechanism the Federal Government chose to use in actualising the UHC framework, hence it was partnering with WHO to revitalise PHC system.
Alemu said that the global body, in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), was working to strengthen the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and support states to establish State Insurance Scheme.
He disclosed that the strategy would enable the government to provide free healthcare services to citizens, especially those in rural communities and those who were earlier not eligible to receive health services through insurance scheme.
The WHO representative said Abia, Niger and Osun states would be used to kick-start the project.
“We want to ensure that health services are provided at primary healthcare levels in the country, hence we are making primary health care centres in political wards functional.