Healthcare Delivery is People’s Right and Not Privilege, Says First Lady, Remi Tinubu

*Wants removal of all barriers to actualise health for all 

*WHO: 4.5bn people lacked full essential health services in 2021

*Lawan urges FG to prioritise health  

Deji Elumoye, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Sunday Aborisade in Abuja  

First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has stated that healthcare delivery is the people’s right and not a privilege. She expressed concern over the widening gap in health equity despite the progress made in the nation’s healthcare sector.
In a statement personally signed and issued yesterday to mark this year’s World Health Day, Mrs Tinubu disclosed that health delivery remained the fundamental human rights of individuals and not a privilege.

While appreciating Nigerian health workers for their commitment to service, Senator Tinubu also called for the removal of all barriers affecting delivery of health for all in the country.
This was as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said at least 4.5 billion people – more than half of the world’s population – were  not fully covered by essential health services in 2021.
Similarly, a former President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has urged the federal government to prioritise health as a basic right of every Nigerian.
The First Lady in the one-page release stated: “Today, as we observe World Health Day, the theme ‘Health for All:  Health Equity’ resonates deeply. It reminds us that healthcare delivery is not a privilege but a fundamental human right.
“While significant progress has been made in healthcare sector in Nigeria, the gap in health equity remains a critical challenge and we must collectively rise up to the occasion.

“We live in a world where access to quality healthcare delivery service varies due to socio-economic diversities, creating disparities in health outcomes.
“I commend all our healthcare workers for their dedication and commitment to service. Nigeria has weathered so many storms, from Ebola to Covid and yet, we are still here, due to the dedication and commitment of our healthcare workers. I commend you and say a big thank you to you all.
“I use this opportunity of today to call on all well meaning Nigerians, organisations and bodies, to help remove all barriers to actualizing health for all in Nigeria. Happy World Health Day. God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the WHO, which said at least 4.5 billion people were not fully covered by essential health services in 2021, expressed concern over the dangers posed by increasing outbreak of diseases and disasters around the world.
WHO raised concerns in a message yesterday to mark this year’s World Health Day.
The theme for the 2024 WHD is ‘My health, my right’. It was chosen to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination.

In Abuja, the organisation has planned a special event: “Walk the Talk” and Health Colloquium at the Unity Fountain as part of activities to commemorate the World Health Day.
“Around the world, the right to health of millions is increasingly coming under threat. Diseases and disasters loom large as causes of death and disability. Conflicts are devastating lives, causing death, pain, hunger, and psychological distress.
“The burning of fossil fuels is simultaneously driving the climate crisis and taking away our right to breathe clean air, with indoor and outdoor air pollution claiming a life every five seconds,” the global health body noted.

WHO said its council on the Economics of Health for All has found that at least 140 countries recognise health as a human right in their constitution. Yet the  countries are not passing and putting into practice laws to ensure their populations are entitled to access health services.
“This underpins the fact that at least 4.5 billion people — more than half of the world’s population — were not fully covered by essential health services in 2021.
“To address these types of challenges, the theme for World Health Day 2024 is ‘My health, my right’,” it said.

It further urged the government to build infrastructure that will guarantee decent work, worker rights and protections, and create fair, equal and gender-responsive working conditions for health and care workers.
It also enjoined governments to ensure access to social protection to reduce households’ vulnerability to poverty and counteract the negative impacts of unexpected life events on income, wealth or health.

WHO further advised government entities to: “Invest in health like your bottom line depends on it – an additional $200–328 billion a year is needed globally to scale up primary health care in low- and middle-income countries (i.e. 3.3 per cent of national forecast GDP).
“Deliver on the right to health – make health services available, accessible, acceptable and of good quality for everyone, everywhere.Be strategic and build from the basics, reorient health systems around primary health care.

“Champion transparency and accountability, tackle corruption by strengthening governance and working across sectors.
“Involve the general public in health decision-making, ‘social participation’ happens when individuals and communities are meaningfully involved in decision-making around health, e.g., town-hall meetings and citizen assemblies, focus groups and consultations, health councils, representation on steering groups, and review boards.

“Know the health needs of populations and act on them, collect, analyse, use and monitor data, disaggregate by age, sex, economic status, education level, place of residence, race and ethnicity, and other characteristics and act to correct health inequities.
“Safeguard the right to health in war and conflict, protect health infrastructure and health workers, and ensure uninterrupted access to health services, in adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law.”

In another breath, the President of the 9th Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has urged the federal government to prioritise health as a basic right of every Nigerian.
Lawan stated this in a message by his Media Adviser, Ezrel Tabiowo, to mark the World Health Day 2024, which is celebrated April 7 globally, every year.
He described health as a fundamental human right that should be enjoyed by all individuals, irrespective of their background and socioeconomic status.

Lawan, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence in the current Senate, explained that access to healthcare services, and safe living conditions are essential for maintaining good health and wellbeing.
He  further advocated quality healthcare systems and policies that promote health equity, and initiatives that empower individuals to take charge of their own health.

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