FG Urged to Seek Debt Relief to Promote Access to Universal Health Coverage

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The National Summit on COVID-19 has urged the federal government to galvanise other nations to demand for debt relief from international creditors so that such resources could be funneled towards improving access to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and building national bio-security.

The resolution was one of the issues adopted by stakeholders and members of the international community involved in the national response towards ending the pandemic.

In a communiqué released yesterday following the summit held in Abuja, participants noted it was auspicious for Nigeria to take such step given the impact of COVID-19 on developing economies, which had worsened their debt situation.

Among other resolutions, the federal government was urged to consider building a structure for the management of national bio-security in view of the global experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as sustain the current level of engagement with the organised private sector in strengthening the health sector.

The participants also wanted the “One Health” Strategy and the requirements under the international health regulation to be pursued vigorously.

The summit with the theme: “Pushing through the last mile to end the pandemic and build back better,” called on government to strengthen the collaboration between the national and sub-national entities for improved partnership on primary health care delivery and vaccination uptake.

In addition, it recognised the need for building the capacity for local vaccine manufacturing and ramping up of COVID 19 vaccination uptake in the country.

Also the stakeholders emphasised the need for the strengthening the Accountability Framework for COVID-19 Response and Health Security in Nigeria, fill identifiable gaps in governance and resourcing and noted the significant role for the private sector in bridging resource gaps on national health security.

The communiqué was drafted by Coordinator Africa Health Budget (for Coalition of CSOs), Dr. Aminu Magashi; representative of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Frank Mounemeh; the Cross River State Health Commissioner, Dr. Betta Edu; Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe and Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha.