2023 elections: Health Sector Coalition cautions Nigerians against violence
*Says Nigerian health sector too fragile to take care of casualties
*Pledges to support the incoming president develop a robust strategy to achieve Universal Health Coverage
As Nigerians go to the polls on Saturday, the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), has cautioned Nigerians to stay away from violence and vote peacefully knowing that the Nigerian health system is very fragile and does not have enough hands to take care of series of people who will be injured.
The group urged Nigerians to understudy the manifesto of the various political parties and vote for the candidate that has the capacity to reposition and transform the Nigerian health sector.
Chairperson of the coalition, Chika Offor, who stated this at a Press Conference on the Health Manifesto of four Frontline Presidential candidates yesterday in Abuja, said that the HSRC is willing to support whoever wins the presidential election to develop a robust strategy that will help the country achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Offor noted that the first thing the incoming president will do is to select a health minister that understands the health sector because leadership is very key to revamping the health sector and reversing the nation’s poor health indices.
She stated that the health sector has historically endured the backseat in Nigeria’s political and electoral priorities, but owing to the tireless work of advocates all across the country, among which the HSRC is chief, we have seen for the first time the best attempts by the political class to mainstream healthcare in their manifestos.
“The Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) is a coalition of more than one hundred (100) Civil Society Organizations and other non-government actors who came together to drive citizens-led health sector reforms in Nigeria. Our coalition played a principal role in driving the advocacy activities that led to the passage and signing of the National Health Act in 2014.
“Since this period, the HSRC has continued to pursue the implementation of the Act and other sectoral reforms which have a strong potential for transforming the health care landscape in Nigeria through the provision of primary health care services to all Nigerians and providing a roadmap to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country”, she said.
Adding: “We are ready to support the incoming president to achieve Universal Health Coverage and support the push for Abuja Declaration of 15 percent budgetary allocation to the health sector comes to the fore. We have the experts, the passion and everything necessary, want to ensure that whatever is gotten from the oil subsidy is reinvested in the health sector. The incoming president has a duty to tell Nigerians how they are going to make health Universal.
“We want Nigerians to go out on the day of the election and vote peacefully because the health system does not have the strength to carry any form of casualty that will come out if people engage in violence, the health system is too fragile to support series of people who are injured so people cast their vote peacefully and be alive to witness the new administration “, she added.
The coalition noted that in analyzing the manifestos of the four leading parties for the 2023 presidential elections, the promise for accountability benchmark that improving citizens’ health status must be considered a political priority and an integral part of any political agenda, especially in Nigeria that has one of the worst health indices in the world.
The HSRC stated that the country is severely challenged by a weak health system and a high level of medical tourism. It is clear that health is wealth and there is a clear link between health and development.
According to the coalition, hitherto to 2023 elections, the major political parties have had weak health aspects in their manifestos, however, it is great that this time, the top four of 18 presidential candidates in Nigeria’s forthcoming presidential election on Saturday have provided their plans for Nigeria’s health sector in their manifestos, which shows increased attention to improving Nigeria’s health system.
“The top four candidates are the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP), the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The main thrusts for the health sector in each of the manifestos have expressed varying levels of understanding of the issues facing the health sector and how to address them.
“It is hoped that whoever that wins the election will drive the country to improved budgetary allocations to the health sector; aggressive three-tier health investments in partnership with state and local governments; rapid expansion of quality primary healthcare and human resources and pro-poor health financing inspired by innovative pooling of resources.
Others are, mainstreaming effective anticorruption measures in the health sector and investments in health research to guide the governance of the health sector and to reduce dependence on imported medical consumables”, the coalition added.