WHD 2021: NRHJN Calls for Overhaul of Healthcare System in Nigeria

WHD 2021: NRHJN Calls for Overhaul of Healthcare System in Nigeria

By Bashir Hassan Abubakar

As the world marks the World Health Day 2021,
the Network for Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (NRHJN), has 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 call, as contained in press release signed by the Network’s Publicity Secretary Elizabeth Carr , request that the 36 States and the FCT should immediately institute access to the Basic Healthcare 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 to all stakeholders in the healthcare sector. This would set the nation on the path towards Universal Health Coverage to attain a sustainable health system.
NRHJN said that , 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 is greatly compromised by the high level of insecurity in the country; resulting in violent and multiple rape cases of abductees and which are almost becoming a culture with high impunity”.

The Network opined that the scary situation is also compounding the near non-existent 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.

“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 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 charges the Nigerian Government at all levels to prioritise and rejig it’s 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 thus preventing the growing cases of preventable and treatable diseases including non- communicable diseases.

The Network further asks for a sustainable solution to incessant strikes by social 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 where everyone can access quality healthcare.

There should be no conditions attached to any Nigerian having access to comprehensive and sustainable healthcare delivery anywhere and at anywhere in the country

With this year’s theme: “Together for a fairer, healthier world”, the press statement further read in part:

“There is no doubt that in our little space, the last few years have been observed to be 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.

“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.

“The continued strikes by medical doctors and other health workers in public hospitals worsen 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.

“In so many ways, the provision of basic health care for the citizens by the Nigerian government could be much better.

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