Abuja, 07 August 2017-The World Health Organization’s (WHO) first “Scoping Mission” to Nigeria on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) & Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has concluded its assignment and presented findings to the Honorable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole in Abuja on 04 August 2017. During the 5-day mission, experts, government functionaries and stakeholders explored areas for health system improvement to enable Nigeria expedite progress towards the attainment of UHC and the SDGs.
Director of Health Systems and Services (HSS) at the WHO Africa Regional Office and leader of delegation, Dr Delanyo Dovlo, informed the minister that during the 5-day mission, the team conducted interviews with heads of relevant agencies and met with Commissioners for Health from nine states (Abia, Niger, Osun, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Lagos, Adamawa and Nassarawa).
According to Dr Davlo, the activities conducted aimed to “Identify critical challenges and priorities of focus for health systems strengthening for UHC; explore Nigeria’s progress on the UHC Presidential Summit and its UHC policy orientations and agree on a Nigerian framework for accelerating progress towards UHC and the SDGs in Nigeria”.
Their immediate findings indicate that the country can leverage on the existence of policy & strategic instruments, functional State Ministries of Health, active /engaged legislature health committees and good HRH capacity towards achieving the SDG goal 3, which stipulates the attainment of healthy lives and well-being for all, at all ages within reasonable time.
Some of the issues noted by the team relate to internal fragmentation affecting effectiveness in coordination of technical and policy areas, such as operationalization of UHC for SDGs as well as availability and use of data and information for accelerating health through UHC.
Professor Adewole assured the team that with prevailing political will in the country, government is committed towards providing equitable, qualitative and universally acceptable healthcare for all Nigerians without suffering financial hardship. He promised that the roadmap to be drawn, following the receipt of the final report would be diligently implemented.
Before leaving Nigeria, the team gave preliminary recommendations on general UHC development, governance/coordination improvements and strategies to engage the private sector in the Health sector among others. It also held a debriefing session with the WHO Country Representative (WR) Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu and programme officers to drum home the importance of supporting government towards attaining UHC. The final report on the ‘scoping mission’ is expected within the next seven days.
WHO is supporting Nigeria to define its own UHC roadmap; rooted in the country’s own culture, political system and institutions to ensure that every citizen has access to quality health services, applying an acceptable financial risk protection mechanism.
• Technical contact:
Dr Teniin Gakuruh; Tel: +234 803 979 5149; Email: gakuruht [at] who.int