Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL), on Monday announced its collaboration with Legislators, designed to attain universal health coverage in Nigeria.
LISDEL unveiled the partnership at a two-day capacity building programme, with the theme “Enhancing Salience and Capacity of Health Committee of National Assembly to Catalyse Progress towards UHC”.
The programme is organised by LISDEL, an indigenous not-for-profit organization, and partners.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that as part of its mission to support the strengthening of health systems efforts in Nigeria, with support from partners, LISDEL is collaborating with the Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage (LNUHC) to enhance UHC in Nigeria.
This intervention is part of the objectives of the “Strengthening Government Partnerships and Advocacy for PHC (SPAG) Project” being implemented by LISDEL at the national and state levels.
The event is targeted at key stakeholders in the legislature to enhance the application of their roles and functions to ensure the expansion of health financial risk protection mechanisms to vulnerable populations in the country.
It includes the following objectives: Review of progress of the legislative health agenda/work plan and priorities resolved to be achieved at the inception of the current Assembly; identify approaches to mitigate challenges; and to set new priorities based on the outcomes of the tracking process.
Enhance the knowledge of clerks and health committee secretaries around broad health financing and UHC concepts, linked to existing reforms in Nigeria, including the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and how their roles can strengthen their implementations.
In an address of welcome, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Convener of the Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage (LNU), Sen. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, said that the legislators have gathered to apply their statutory functions of legislation, appropriation, oversight “accountability” and representation to raise health high on the agenda of government.
Oloriegbe noted that the two-day capacity building programme would provide critical interventions for legislative action that would support attainment of UHC in the country.
Dr Francis Ukwuije, Health Economist, World Health Organization (WHO), said that UHC means that all people must have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.
Ukwuije said this includes the full range of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
“The goals of UHC are to ensure that all people can access quality health services, to safeguard all people from public health risks, and to protect all people from impoverishment due to illness, whether from out-of-pocket payments for health care or loss of income when a household member falls sick.
“Low levels of entitlements, large healthcare inequality, limited financial protection and poor portability are deemed as major challenges in the progress of UHC,” he explained.
Dr David Olayemi, Consultant Specialist on PHC, said that the principles of any PHC are accessibility, public participation, health promotion, appropriate technology and intersectoral cooperation.
Olayemi said that accessibility means that the five types of health care are universally available to all Nigerians regardless of their geographical location.
He stated that community participation means that Nigerians are encouraged to participate in making decisions about their own health, in identifying the health needs of their community, and in considering the merits of alternative approaches to addressing those needs.
He stressed that health promotion involves health education, nutrition, sanitation, maternal and child health care, immunization, prevention and control of disease.
“The goal of health promotion is to reduce the demands for curative and rehabilitative care.
“Appropriate technology means that modes of care are appropriately adapted to the community’s social, economic and cultural development.
“Intersectoral cooperation recognizes that health and well-being are linked to both economic and social policy as Intersectoral cooperation is needed to establish national and local health goals, healthy public policy, and the planning and evaluation of health services,” he added.
In her welcome address, Mrs Juliana Abude-Aribo, Executive Director, LISDEL, said that the objective of the capacity building programme is to deepen understanding of the legislators on health financing, UHC,and PHC objectives and policies.
Abude-Aribo said this is also to enhance the understanding of legislative functions and enhance the application of these functions to ensure the expansion of health financial risk protection mechanisms to target population.
She added that the capacity building would also gather knowledge and use of information to develop implementable processes, tools, framework, strategic legislative health agenda and work plans in the application of legislative functions towards health care strengthening.
The Executive Director stated that this would track progress in past commitments made by legislators to promote UHC and articulate plans to implement pending commitments.(NAN)