By Hassan Zaggi
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has mapped out a five–year-strategic plan to ensure that one billion people across the world get Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by the year 2030.
The WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, disclosed this at a media parley on UHC organised by ThisDay newspaper in collaboration with other partners, in Abuja, yesterday.
This is even as the WHO DG has launched the new name of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). It is now to be called Huwe, meaning life.
The parley was aimed at assessing progress towards UHC in Nigeria through review of country level efforts and sharing of global experiences
“That’s why WHO’s new five-year strategic plan sets a target to see 1 billion more people with universal health coverage by 2023.
“This is what we must do to stay on track for achieving the UHC target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“Strong primary care in every country, designed to meet the needs of people, will be fundamental if we are to achieve that target,” he said.
While reiterating that UHC means, no one should get sick and die just because they are poor, or because the services they need are too far away, the WHO Director General, however, lamented that: “But today, more than half the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty every year because of the costs of paying for care out of their own pockets.”
He, however, applauded the federal government’s efforts to attain UHC through the launch of the BHCPF, which according to him, will reduce the financial barriers people face when using health services.
He congratulated the Nigerian government for allocating 1% of consolidated revenue from the national budget to the BHCPF, cautioning that: “Of course, declarations and legislation are all very well. The really hard work comes in implementing them.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, explained that the new name of the BHCPF- “Huwe”, is an Ebira world, one of the languages in Nigeria, meaning Life.
Adewole, therefore, warned that Huwe is complementary to existing efforts at the state and local government levels to mobilise resources for health and that “it should in no way be seen as an excuse for states to underfund or deprioritise funding for health.”