Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu
By Patrick Ugeh
The federal government Wednesday took a major step towards ensuring that all people can access quality health services with the inauguration of a 12-member technical working group for the presidential summit on universal health coverage.
Headed by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Fatima Bamidele, the group is expected to set in motion a series of activities that would culminate in a presidential summit on universal health coverage as directed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The committee has four weeks to turn in its report.
During Wednesday’s inauguration, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said: “A major outcome expected from this summit is a detailed road map that will put us on track towards providing universal health coverage for Nigerians in a sustainable manner.”
Represented by the General Manager, Planning, Research and Monitoring in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Kenneth Korve, Chukwu remarked that the country was already implementing some initiatives that would help in the goal of achieving universal health coverage.
He listed them as the ongoing review of the NHIS Act which, among other things, seeks to make health insurance mandatory; efforts at increasing access to frontline health care professionals through the Midwives Service Scheme; and efforts to improve access to quality services at primary health care centres.
Others are ongoing pilot results-based financing schemes under the SURE-P and the Save One Million Lives initiative.
“However, these initiatives are being implemented in parallel outside a cohesive framework for universal health coverage,” he said.