The World Health Organization (WHO) has bemoaned that Nigeria bears the highest burdens of tuberculosis and pediatric HIV while accounting for 50% of neglected tropical diseases in Africa.
The WHO Field Presence Cluster Lead, Ahmed Khedr said Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) account for 29% of all deaths in Nigeria with premature mortality from the 4 main NCDs (Hypertension, Diabetes, Cancers, Malnutrition) accounting for 22% of all deaths.
It said, Although the prevalence of malaria is declining (from 42% to 23%), the country contributes 27% of global cases and 24% of global deaths.
Khedr who represented the Country Representative, Walter Kazadi Mulombo at the 6th Annual Conference of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists (ANHEJ) further explained that while the poorest households feel the heaviest impact of these inefficiencies and poor health outcomes as they have limited access to essential health services, the negative externalities pose huge losses to the Nigerian economy.
He said there is no single pathway to UHC and all countries must find their own way, in the context of their own social, political and economic circumstances, But 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.
He also explained that National Health Act (NHAct) enacted the same year laid a firm foundation for making UHC a reality, by guaranteeing a basic package of health services for all Nigerians while making available predictable financing through the basic healthcare provision fund.
He, however, appreciated the government of Nigeria for consistently releasing its commitment of at least 1% of its consolidated revenue fund towards the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) and It is expected that the BHCPF if well implemented, would provide a great opportunity to turn political commitment into tangible gains while rallying development partners and the private sector around revitalizing primary health care as the foundation of UHC.