By Gina Bella
Nigerian Youths Champions for Universal Health Coverage (NYC4UHC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to regard health as a national security in need of urgent attention.
The youths who made the call on recently in Abuja during the commemoration of the 2020 Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, raised concerns over the poor health insurance penetration, high rate of out of pocket expenses for health and poor budgetary allocation to health.
Addressing newsmen, Acting Chair Person NYC4UHC, Pitan Oyeyemi who made reference to the several constraints presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, stressed that every Nigerian including the youths, must have access to quality essential health services.
In her words: “NYC4UHC understands that there are a lot of needs to be met at this critical time across all sectors in our nation due to the pandemic.
“However, we urge President Muhammadu Buhari, the Health Minister, Finance Minister, Budget and Planning Minister as well as other relevant agencies to see health as a national security issue that needs urgent attention so that our nation can emerge stronger than the pandemic.”
The youths who further called for clear provision and inclusion as beneficiaries of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), equally sought for representation in all high level committees in the various health platforms including the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
National Coordinator, Africa Health Budget Network, (AHBN) Dr. Aminu Magashi who appealed to the Federal Government to engage the youths in all its programmes, said youths should be considered as front liners in the COVID-19 vaccine expected in the country in the first quarter of 2021.
Magashi further raised concerns over the lack of basic infrastructures especially running water at Primary Health Care (PHC) Centres and a vibrant health insurance scheme at the federal and state levels.
“The primary health care centres nationwide lack functioning water system. We call on state governors, National Assembly, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA to provide water systems in all the PHCs. When there is water it takes care of a whole lot of things and provides a lot of services.
“We should be covered by insurance; this will ensure we don’t pay so much for health. NHIS must work at an optimal level, the state’s insurance scheme must provide access to everybody at the state level to ensure every youth access health care without financial hardship.
Chief Executive Officer, Vaccine Network for Disease Control, Chika Offor, charged Nigerian youths to be advocates of change, by monitoring services at PHCs, to ensure every Nigerian child have access to quality health care.