YAOUNDE, Cameroon

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Nigeria Thursday said it is supporting the West African government to monitor health inequities and ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is attained by 2030.

The UHC means that all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.

In a statement on Thursday, WHO Nigeria Country Representative Walter Kazadi Mulombo said: “To improve this situation, we need to act on the social and economic determinants of health, by working across sectors to improve living and working conditions, and access to education, particularly for the most marginalized groups.

“Communities need to be engaged as partners, through their networks and associations, to shape and drive health and development interventions.”

The UHC includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care across the life course, according to the WHO.

The coronavirus pandemic disrupted a lot of health services across the world, including Nigeria where a lot of people had their medical routines distorted.

The statement said a WHO report indicates that over 73% of the population make out-of-pocket payments for health services and only 6.8 million out of a population of over 200 million have access to healthcare services which is not up to 10% of the entire population.

The discussions to review the National Health Insurance Act to make it mandatory for enrollment of all persons is a critical input in addressing this gap, WHO said.

“WHO Nigeria is supporting the government to strengthen capacities for the use of disaggregated data, based on socio-economic stratification of the population,” the WHO said, adding that it “is providing technical support for the policies and strategies that would ensure that a lot more people have financial access to quality health services.”

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