African giants Nigeria currently leads in the global rating on the brunt of tuberculosis and pediatric-related Human Immune Virus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
WHO’s country representative Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo stated this, Thursday, at the sixth annual conference of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists (ANHEJ) held at Akwanga, Nasarawa State. Mulombo added that Nigeria accounts for 50% of neglected tropical diseases in Africa.
Ahmed Khedr, Field Presence Cluster Lead, WHO, represented Mulomba at the event, which had the theme: ‘Universal Health Coverage (UHC): How Can Nigeria Get it Right – the Role of the Media’.
According to him, while cases of malaria is declining from 42% to 23%, Nigeria’s quota in global mortalities is 24%.
In his words, “Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) account for 29% of all deaths in Nigeria with premature mortality from the four main NCDs: hypertension, diabetes, cancers, malnutrition accounting for 22% of all deaths.”
He said the core victims are the poor who have no access to quality heathcare services, adding that the failure of standard health services in the country contributed heavily to economic losses in Nigeria’s economy.
According to him, “There is no single pathway to universal health coverage. All countries must find their own way according to their own social, political and economic circumstances.
“The foundation everywhere must be a political commitment to building a strong health system, based on primary care, with an emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion.”
The chairman of the National Advocates for Health (NA4H), Mohammed Usman, in a speech, said that less than 5, 000 primary healthcare centres out of the over 30, 000 in the country are functional. He blamed poor budgetary allocations and implementation as being behind the country’s woeful health sector.
In his view, “From 2018 to date, over N300 billion allocated for the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) and less than one third have been released.
“Looking at the family planning budget amounting to N2.8 billion for year 2021 and 2022, there has not been single release. Thus Advocates find it difficult raising voices for more funding because of the non-release.”
The president of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), Hassan Zaggi, regretted the poor state of primary health centres in the country, and called on lawmakers at various levels to make relevant laws to improve the country’s health sectors.