Dr Bosede Rotimi, a Public Health Physician, said on Thursday that for Kwara Government to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for its masses, the current 900 doctors to 3.5 million people must be addressed.
Rotimi recommended this at the 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Kwara branch.
Her paper presentation was entitled: “Journey to achieving UHC; an appraisal of healthcare delivery in Kwara: challenges, prospects and practicable solutions”.
She explained that the 2020 indices translated to about 0.26 per cent to 1,000 patients, adding that this is not good enough.
Rotimi observed that the doctor-to-patient density, weak human resources, as well as poor regulation of healthcare practices in the state needed to be addressed.
The expert however added that despite these challenges, the state had recorded success and reached some milestone through the establishment of Community Based Health Insurance Scheme and the Kwara Health Insurance Scheme.
Rotimi noted that the state’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency and Social Investment Programme were all attempts by the government to revamp the healthcare system in the state, saying that these have became prototype for other parts of the country to emulate.
She described UHC as a situation where all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.
“It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care across the life course.
“The delivery of these services require adequate and competent health and care workers with optimal skills mix at facility, outreach and community level, and who are equitably distributed, adequately supported and enjoy decent work,” she said.
The public health physician explained that UHC strategies enable everyone to access the services that address the most significant causes of disease and death, and ensure that the quality of those services were good enough to improve the health of the people who receive them.
Rotimi stated that protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets reduced the risk that people will be pushed into poverty because unexpected illness require them to use up their life savings.
“Achieving UHC is one of the targets the nations of the world set when adopting the SDGs in 2015,” she said.
The expert advised the state to strengthen laws that favour UHC such as Primary Health-Care Under One-Roof, Health Insurance Scheme and Community Based Insurance Scheme and Social Investment Programme.
“There is need for the state to engage in Public Private Partnership to finance healthcare service delivery and also capacity building for improved healthcare delivery,” she further suggested.
In his goodwill message, Mr Kayode Alabi, the Deputy Governor of Kwara, commended the association for assisting the state government in promotion of good health to people.
Alabi, who was represented by Dr Raji Razaq, the state Commissioner for Health, observed that the state government recently delegated the NMA to represent the state at the House of Assembly on the establishment of Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Budo-Egba.
“At the advent of the novel COVID-19, the NMA and other key stakeholders stood behind the government in management and curtailing the spread of this deadly virus,” he said.
The deputy governor stated that the government was employing strategies to turn Kwara into medical tourist spot, while pledging continued collaboration with the association to achieving UHC.
Earlier in his address of welcome, Dr Baba Issa, the state NMA Chairman, said that the association was fulfilling its mandate to the society by its constant free medical outreach across rural communities.
He explained that as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, the association had earlier provided free medical care and surgical intervention to indigents at Ijara-Isin community in Isin Local Government Area of the state.
Issa therefore reiterated NMA’s commitment to continue to collaborate with the state government in achieving UHC.