UHC in Nigeria achievable through institution of quality control mechanisms – NHIS



Prof. Nasir Sambo, Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, (NHIS) says Universal Health Coverage (UHC), is achievable if Nigeria institutes a mechanism to control quality of health services in the country.

Sambo said this while, delivering a keynote address at the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference, organised by Nigeria Infectious Disease Society (NIDS), on Wednesday in Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the theme of the conference is; “The Role of Universal Health Coverage in Control of Infectious Disease in Nigeria”.

The Executive Secretary said that a multi-sectoral action was also required to achieve UHC in the country.

“Actions like ensuring the provision of critical physical and human resources essential to the functioning of health facilities and services from other sectors.

“Ensuring alignment of health governance mechanisms, policies and programmes of other sectors to address key health determinants and immediate threats.

“Monitoring the health system and impacts of interventions that are the core business of other sectors,” he explained.

Speaking on infectious diseases, Sambo said in spite of the growing significance of non-communicable diseases, communicable diseases remained the biggest threat to human existence.

According to him, infectious diseases such influenzas, Ebola, Cholera, Measles, and Meningitis, pose a great global health threat to humanity.

He noted that the growing significance of antimicrobial resistance was making the threat very scary.

Sambo said that most countries in the world were not ready to prevent, detect and effectively respond to epidemics of infectious diseases.

He stated that when these diseases crossed international borders, they had become a global health security.

The Executive Secretary advised infectious disease physicians to also expand their focus to external factors for efficiency in dealing with such outbreaks.

He disclosed that NHIS was currently undergoing transformation based on a three point agenda.

“We are restoring a value system that will transform NHIS into a credible result-driven organisation.

“Engendering transparency and accountability in the centre of operations of the scheme.

“Accelerating the drive towards achieving universal access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians, ” he said.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that the center was working with the 36 states of the federation to prevent, detect, and control public health diseases.

Ihekweazu, who was represented by Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, NCDC, said that with its current population density, tropical climate, high level of movement and migration, Nigeria was at a high risk of disease outbreaks.

The NCDC boss said that the centre had evolved a project to support each state with a Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, aimed at improving coordination of outbreak response in the country.

He said NCDC had also deployed Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System for digital surveillance, and training of state epidemiologists.

The director-general also said that the centre would strengthen the capacities of states for outbreak preparedness and response through the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers.

“We have no choice but to improve our level of preparedness and capacity to respond to disease outbreaks,” he said.

Earlier in his address, Prof Abdularazaq Habib, President NIDS, said that the society had regrouped and formed working committees to facilitate its day to day operations.

Habib said that the clinical guidelines committees had been active in formulating and disseminating best ways of controlling meningitis during the 2014-2017 outbreak.

He said that the research committee had succeeded in putting together a multi-centre proposal on control and prevention of infectious diseases by gathering data from participating investigators and facilities across the country.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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