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Mothers to be are at high risk

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By Mercy Kelani

Maternal Mortality Rate is currently 40 times higher in Nigeria.

The Lancet Report, presented during the Global Launch of The Lancet Nigeria Commission, would assist Nigeria towards achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030. The Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is concerned with ensuring that people have equitable access to needed health care services without physical and financial difficulty. One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, (SDG-3), established by the United Nations (UN) in 2015, has its main concern on good health and well-being. The official mantra of the SDG-3 is “to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.”

Achieving universal health coverage and easy equitable access to quality healthcare services and medications is target 8 of the SDG-3. Another section of the SDG-3 highlights the need for a monumental increase in health financing and training of the health workforce in developing countries like Nigeria and underdeveloped countries. The aim of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is to ensure the provision of quality healthcare services with equal access to it, and financial protection to citizens of a given country. Despite several efforts and initiatives that the Nigerian government has implemented to improve and enhance UHC in the country, inequity in the delivery of healthcare services due to financial restriction has posed a huge threat to its actualization. Quality health care is therefore received from private hospitals which are always very expensive.

Nigeria’s dismal of health outcomes poses a threat.

The outcome of this challenge is apparent in the country’s high Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) estimated at 814 deaths per 100,000 live births by the World Health Organization (WHO). This subjects Nigerian women to a lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post-abortion at 1 in 22. In developed countries, otherwise, the lifetime risk is estimated at an average of  1 in 4,900. A multidisciplinary group of Nigerian academics located in Nigeria and across the world, working in collaboration with UCL’s Institute for Global Health, and policymakers, over two years, in a bid to provide a feasible solution applicable to every economic class of Nigerians, reviewed existing disease burden in Nigeria and likely opportunities to improve and enhance health. After this, the team came up with the newly launched Lancet Report.

The Lancet Nigeria Commission report was published on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The report recorded that health outcomes in Nigeria are poor despite higher expenditure since 2001. Nigeria has the largest Economy and highest population in Africa and is therefore calculated to become the world’s third most populated country by 2050. As much as this portrays a great feat for Nigeria, the Lancet Report team asserted that Nigeria’s dismal health outcomes poses a threat to the dynamic future of the country. The team also examined and compared population health outcomes in Nigeria from 1998 to 2019 with 15 West African countries. The outcome of the examination revealed that despite recent improvements, Nigeria compares less favorably with similar West African States.

Assessment of the investment needed for healthcare.

Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, the Lancet Report team leader, emphasized on the urgent need for Nigeria to improve access to health care through financing it. He also mentioned that health care should be held dearly by all policies because many of the factors that affect health lie outside the healthcare sector. All policies should be accountable for health care. All factors that are detrimental to the health should be put in check. Factors like poor access to water and Sanitation, unhealthy foods, malnutrition due to being overweight or vice versa, air Pollution and others, should be duly eradicated. Paramount attention should also be paid to equity in the provision of social welfare, Education and employment opportunities. The report presents the likelihood that Nigeria would be able to deliver equitable and optimal health outcomes nationwide through collaboration with policymakers.

The report recommends that Nigeria calls for a new social contract based on health, to address ways by which health issues can be managed by the government, citizens and policies outside the health sector. It also proposed a health reformation program to set up a health system for all and the provision of health Insurance for 83 million poor Nigerians. It also suggested a health system that engages communities and encourages innovations. As a matter of fact, it demanded an assessment of the Investment needs in Nigeria’s health Security. The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, stated that the federal government is working towards the improvement of the health of Nigerians. He said it is the reason why primary health care centres are located in Nigerian communities. He added that more attention would be put on citizens who live in rural areas, women and weak populations.

Emphasized on the need to invest in the health care.

He commended the Lancet Report and stated that the recommendations of the report are already being implemented. He also mentioned that the President launched a health reform committee for the benefit of Nigerians. The government would also improve digitization of health records. The secretary to the government of the federation also added that the poor health outcomes of the country pose threats to the growing population of Nigeria. He emphasized on the need to invest in the health care system and the future of it noting that it is the best provision that can be given to citizens.


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