Universal Health Coverage: We Need More Efforts Now Than Ever – Toyin Saraki

To mark 2018 Universal Health Coverage Day, Mrs Toyin Saraki, named by Devex as the ‘Global Health for All Champion’, has called for greater efforts to bring about quality, equitable and accessible healthcare around the world.

Mrs Saraki in her address said; “Universal Health Coverage and health security are closely interlinked. In the face of terrorism, epidemics and health crises, we need now more than ever for efforts to be escalated to bring about fair and quality healthcare for all.

“I agree with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, that Universal Health Coverage is ultimately a political choice and it is the responsibility of every country and national government to pursue it. In Nigeria and in many other countries, he is also right to point out that health security and universal health coverage are closely interlinked.

“Only two countries in Africa have met the Abuja declaration to pledge 15% of their government budgets to health. Today we must remind leaders of their commitments to the health and wellbeing of all. As Chair of The National Assembly Primary Health Care Revitalisation Support Group. I am however delighted that Nigeria has committed to allocate one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to boost the provision of basic primary healthcare services across the country. This must be built on as a step towards Universal Health Coverage.”

She further stated that; “As the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives, I know that frontline healthcare workers are able to work most effectively within Universal Health Coverage systems, but also can be the champions and interlocutors to make UHC a reality. Their safety must be a priority for all Governments so that they can carry out their life-saving work.

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“Strengthening health systems helps to prevent epidemics. Water, sanitation and hygiene conditions – also known as ‘WASH’ – are crucial to achieving Universal Health Coverage. Poor WASH standards place pregnant women and newborns in huge danger and at risk of sepsis and mean that health facilities become unable to contain diseases. Every Government must enact the 2017 World Health Assembly Sepsis Resolution and ensure that hand hygiene is a quality indicator in every facility and a national marker of health care quality, with access to soap and water monitored and assessed.”

Mrs Saraki is also the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Special Advisor to the Independent Advisory Group to the World Health Organization in Africa.

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