By Hassan Zaggi
The Federal and state governments have been advised to fashion out modalities to ensure that more Nigeria are enrolled in health insurance.
This is because many Nigerians are suffering severe hardship due to out of pocket payment for health services..
This is contained in a communique issues by the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) at the end of its 3rd annual conference in Abuja.
The conference was with theme: “Nigeria’s increasing population—Any hope to achieving UHC and SDG 3?”.
The communique which was signed by the ANHEJ President and Secretary, Hassan Zaggi and Gloria Essien, respectively, called on journalists covering the health sector to “ignite the spirit of investigative journalists so as to unravel the many short comings of the sector.”
ANHEJ in the communique vowed that the media will work closely with the legislature, MDAs and CSOs in the health sector to ensure that existing policies and programmes are assiduously implemented towards increasing child survival, decreasing maternal mortality, ending child marriage, improved PHCs and other healthcare services, increased access to health services by increasing the NHIS coverage which abysmally stands presently at 5%.
“The health journalists vowed to hold government accountable to ensure that before the next conference, concerned departments of government must be seen to have built PHCs and deployed ambulances along strategic points on the highways as contained in the BHCPF implementation document, among other targets.
“ Health journalists vowed to work closely with the government and other stakeholders for the improvement of the health of Nigeria,” the communique stressed.
The communique further said: “There is the need to scale up policy thrusts that will improve health insurance coverage and subsequently reduce mortality rates and improve child survival.
“ Scaling up existing policy thrusts that will improve health insurance coverage and subsequently reduce mortality rates and improve survival e.g. SSHIS, BHCPF
“More investment in the health and reduced inefficiencies in health system and raise the accountability bar
“ Education and empowerment of more women which would engender delayed marriage, childbirth and increase uptake of family planning.”
During the conference, some exceptional Nigerians who contributed immensely to the growth and development of the health sector over the years were given awards.