“Although several efforts and initiatives are put forth by the Nigerian Government to advance UHC, numerous challenges and hindrances to achieving it still exists, stemming from the systems themselves.”
I am Nsikakabasi George, a Public Health Professional and Health Equity Evangelist residing and working to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria. I love conducting research and cooking Nigerian delicacies especially Afang Soup. In the last 4 years, I have utilized my leadership skills to create sustainable impacts and ensure health for all even to the last mile.
Although several efforts and initiatives have been put forth by the Nigerian Government to advance UHC in the nation, there exist numerous challenges and hindrances to achieving this feat stemming from the systems themselves. To get quality health care, you just have to visit private hospitals and facilities which are very expensive but then you get the best of services. Out of pocket expenditures for health is the order of the day and it is seemingly peaking at an overall of about 70% of the total contribution for health. I believe there is still a lot to be done if we are to achieve UHC as a country and this will involve us prioritizing health and ensuring full implementation of health acts and provisions.
Financial difficulties when accessing health care services remains a major impasse for the Nigerian population, and vulnerable people are the worst hit. Although this remains, there exist cost-effective methods to enabling individuals achieve better health outcomes. It is worthy of note that a lot of diseases are linked to WASH especially NTDs and other infectious diseases. Thus, a significant effort to promote better WASH which is very cost-effective will in turn yield gains in reducing morbidities and mortalities.
In this picture is my friend, Archibong Bassey who we co-planned a WASH intervention to an orphanage home in Calabar, Cross River State. The intervention included but not limited to proper hand-washing, sanitation, risk communication and health promotion. We were able to equip the children and staff of the orphanage home on how they can stay healthy to avoid coming down with diseases and experiencing catastrophic health expenditures.
To reduce the mortality, morbidity and disabilities from maternal and childhood diseases, we also work on immunization, health education and promotion and quality assurance. I was posted to the Primary healthcare center, Creek Town in Cross River State. This posting was to support the community health workers in a very remote and short-staffed area. We assisted the health workers to provide health care services to as many individuals and families who aforetime had no access to such. We ensure that the services provided were of quality and as such individuals and families can experience better health outcomes.
Note: Each story has been edited for clarity and in cases, shortened for fit on the UHC2030 webpage.