By Asma’u Ahmad
The Lagos State Government has called for a review and re-organisation of the health sector in order to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, made the call at a Lagos State Media and Communication Healthcare Financing Training organised for journalists by the by the State Ministry of Health in Lagos.
The training was in collaboration with the United States Agency International Development (USAID) funded project, Health Finance and Governance (HFG), an NGO.
She said: “Universal health coverage involves reviewing and restructuring the systems to address specific things; if we get this right, it is a total paradigm shift and the state will be better for it.
“We need more money to address so many things that we need to do in the health sector, not only building hospitals. There are so many things we need to do in the health sector that people do not see, which are very crucial to the success and health of our people, all these need funding.
“We need human resource; we need to educate and enlighten the people. We need to control diseases, we need to trace data and trace diseases occurrences.”
He said that there was need for people to know what the state government was doing to make healthcare more accessible, affordable and efficient.
The commissioner advised residents to contribute to the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) so that they could be covered; adding that funding the health sector was huge task.
According to him, the scheme, which will commence in two months’ time, will involve both public and private providers in the provision of services. “We are starting with the basic care so that over 70 per cent of our people will have access to see the doctor and be treated at the primary care level.
“We are trying to introduce a referral system whereby you refer people from the primary to the secondary and tertiary institutions. “We are trying to put order into the system and we are trying to introduce quality,“ he said.
Also, the State Programme Coordinator, HFG, Mrs Harriet Udeme, said that for Nigeria to achieve UHC there was need to put structures and finance in place. Udeme said that with UHC, the country should be able to achieve all levels of healthcare, including preventive, curative and rehabilitative care at the time we need it without financial burden.
According to her, LSHS is a step in the right direction toward achieving UHC as it will enable everybody to access care without financial hardship.
In his remarks, Mr Somto Mbelu, the Knowledge, Management and Communications Specialist, said that media have a huge role to play in ensuring that the country achieved UHC.
“The role of the media in health financing reform is to propagate what the citizens should do in terms of taking the right actions, asking questions, accountability and demanding what is their rights, which is health. “Health is the right of every Nigerian; the role of the media specifically is to ask questions and hold government accountable to provide the right quality healthcare at the right place and time.
Also, the media is to ensure they support the government in ensuring that we all achieve UHC,” he said.