Nigeria may miss SDG on healthcare, says Soludo
LAPO advocates increased budget for sector
Former governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has said that if the Federal Government does not initiate good reforms, the country may miss out on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on healthcare. Soludo spoke at the 26th Annual Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) Development Forum themed ‘The Nigerian Healthcare Situation: The Way Forward’ in Abuja.
According to him, tackling healthcare challenges in the country requires decisive and comprehensive war on poverty, inequality, illiteracy or poor public health education, nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as provision of adequate and accessible public health facilities and insurance schemes.
“The United Nations SDG 3 envisions that by 2030 all countries should ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.“There are about 13 specific targets to meet. From all indications, Nigeria is set to miss the targets and the SDG on health except some dramatic and systematic reforms are initiated and sustained from now until 2030,” he said.
Government’s expenditure on health (like other sectors) needs to be ratcheted up and its facilitation and regulatory functions strengthened, he said, adding that serious attention at fora like that, should also focus on maximising the latent potential of the ‘other hand’ (individuals and non-state actors) in reversing what LAPO identifies as the ‘progressive decline’ of healthcare delivery in Nigeria.He noted that the country’s healthcare statistics was as scary as its poverty and unemployment statistics, using the average life expectancy as summary indicator.
The former governorship aspirant in Anambra State identified a strong correlation between poverty/inequality and health.He explained that the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provided for free and compulsory primary education, as well as free secondary education.
In his opening remarks, chairman, LAPO Board of Directors, Dr. Osarenren Emokpae, called on the federal and state governments to increase budgetary allocation for the health sector.He said the increment would help reduce medical tourism, as some of the elite would begin to patronise local health facilities rather than go abroad.
In 2018, Nigeria was ranked 187 out of 191 countries in the world that are not complying with the Universal Health Coverage (UCH), he noted, adding that LAPO, in its inclusive services to its clients and the general public, made healthcare a very important component of its services.The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LAPO, Godwin Ehigiamusoe, said the country’s health sector required urgent and collective attention and action, adding that the healthcare statistics in some cases were very depressing.