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NHIS best way to achieve universal health coverage, says SFH

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Managing Director, Society for Family Health (SFH), Dr. Omokhudu Idogho (left); Country Lead, A360 Nigeria SFH, Hajia Fatima Muhammad; and Media Consultant, A360, Laide Shokunbi, during a courtesy visit to Rutam House, headquarters of The Guardian in Lagos…yesterday.<br />PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Society for Family Health (SFH) has said that the best way to achieve the highly desired universal health coverage (UHC) in the country is to key into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The Managing Director, Dr. Omokhudu Idogho, said this yesterday when he led a delegation to Rutam House, Lagos, headquarters of The Guardian.

He disclosed the desire of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) to partner with the media to create more awareness about dangers of unwanted pregnancy among adolescents.

Idogho said: “We work with state and councils in terms of UHC. Therefore, we ask other states who are not involved to key into NHIS.

“SFH is 100 per cent Nigerian organisation. We have been operating in Nigeria for the past 37 years. We are in a new decade and we feel it is a time for us to focus more on UHC for all Nigerians, irrespective of social and financial status. Every individual should have minimum access to quality healthcare.”

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According to him, developed countries that made progress are defined with their ability to achieve UHC.

He added, “We need media to up their game in information dissemination about adolescents, especially unmarried ones, because information is key. For instance, we tell the unmarried adolescents to abstain from sexual intercourse to avoid unwanted pregnancy, because if they get pregnant and eventually commit abortion, they will die.

“We also involve mothers in this awareness because most of the adolescents would believe when they hear from their mothers.

“We are very interested in health of the pregnant women, but we are interested in the adolescents because they constitute 27 per cent of our population.”

Every other conversation in the country is all about pregnant woman or the girl child but there is no conversation about the adolescents.”

The dearth of doctors and Nigerians’ penchant for self-medication stoked the campaign for UHC, he explained.

“In Nigeria, we do not have enough doctors and 67 per cent of Nigerians get their healthcare from the chemists or community pharmacists. But we as an organisation, we must make sure that every Nigerian, including those in rural areas, get healthcare coverage.

“There is need to improve and empower healthcare service providers, as this would enhance UHC in Nigeria.”

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