Experts Meet in Abuja over  Women’s Healthcare

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Isaac Adewole

Udora Orizu in Abuja

As part of the efforts to ensure that the Nigerian women become proactive players in the drive to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Prompt Home Health in collaboration with Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria has invited all stakeholders to Abuja for a symposium on the way forward.

The symposium titled “The Nigerian Woman and Healthcare,” according to the organisers, will have the key decision makers, stakeholders, policy makers, representatives from National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS); Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, and other stakeholders in attendance.

In an interview with THISDAY, the Managing Director of Prompt Home Health, Ike Okoye, said that Nigeria’s healthcare system is saddening, adding that it is high time the government commenced the implementation of reforms.

He explained that the reason for the focus on Nigerian women is because they bear the most burden of ineffective healthcare system.

According to the home healthcare provider, “When you say the Nigerian woman, they are not the only one that face healthcare challenges; but she faces quite a whole lot. She’s the mother to the child, husband and family, also faces some socially, morally and economically factors sometimes.

“Naturally a woman’s health is reflective of the health of the family, society and the world at large. If you have healthy women, naturally you have healthy households. And because of the biological position of the woman, they face a whole lot of challenges; also given the fact that in Nigeria there are cultural inhibitions and financial inhibitions.”

Speaking on the drive by government to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030, he said, “Nigeria has been on the line of this universal health coverage for a while; but it doesn’t look like we are making enough progress.

“In Nigeria a lot has been said about this issue, we have gone beyond talking of what to do; we know the right thing to do, and it’s to build the political will to actually achieve those things.

‘’Everything about Nigerian woman health, Universal Health Coverage and so on are already on paper, the problem is having the political will to go out and achieve it and that’s why the women must stand up, galvanize, motivate, form a common voice and achieve progress.

“The problem of Nigeria is not shortage of ideas but implementation, we know the right thing but we don’t have the political will to get things done.’’

On health allocation being very low and what government should do to improve health care, he maintained that the problem is not having political will to get things done.

He added, “It is the same political will; because already the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that it shouldn’t be anything less than 13 per cent; but if you look at the Nigerian Health Act, some of these things have not been implemented.

‘’I know government is dealing with a lot of issues but health is very important. If universal health coverage is important, why are we having challenges and where are all those challenges coming from, what is government doing and how can we help to impact this change.

“So, maybe, this is an opportunity to have all those experts come around and then we throw the questions to them and let them tell us why are we not achieving those women development goals, why are we still having issues with health act and that’s what this symposium is all about.”