…Charges media to take critical role
By Hassan Zaggi
For Nigeria to be able to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC), the Federal Government has been advised to finance and build a stronger healthcare system to ensure that health emergency preparedness programme is stronger and better.
A medical expert and chairman West African Academy of Public Health, Dr. Francis Ohanyido, gave the advice while responding to questions from journalists, in Abuja, yesterday.
He, however, noted that the media is key to the attainment of the UHC in Nigeria.
According to Dr. Ohanyido: “As a country, we need to begin go build a better health system and one way is to make sure our health emergency preparedness programme works for us so that more Nigerians don’t die when they don’t need to die. We need to invest a lot of money in health.”
While advocating for what he described as strategic purchasing, the medical experts said: “The problem is that people do procurement for the sake of doing procurement. There is no strategic purchasing.
“If you are doing strategic purchasing, it means that even in terms of preparing to counter diseases, your health system should be better prepared to do it.
“This looks at issue of resources, whether it is human resources for health, whether in terms of financing health. You should get more health for every naira you spent.
“Again, if you have the right people planning your health system, they are better prepared and are able to do risk assessment for your country.”
He, therefore charged the media to be watch dogs and follow the money.
“There is therefore the need for journalists to begin to have identifier systems. They have to understand the health system and also follow procurement processes.
“Your ability to do that will help more Nigerians than you can imagine. If people are aware that you are tracking those expenses, they will be more careful and transparent,” he stressed.
Stressing further the relevance of the media in the attainment of the UHC, Dr. Ohanyido said: “This also brings us to another issue of transparency.
“You look at what policy makers are saying and bridge the gap of information with the people who they are working for.
“The media should be advocates for UHC because you can see by going from one place to the other that people are suffering and a lot of these people cannot afford the kind of care they are given. Most people will come out from the care they are given and be worst for it.”