The Nigerian Youth Champions for Universal Health Coverage (NYC4UHC), a youth led coalition, has called for adequate inclusion of young people in the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country.The chairperson of the group, Nita George–Iruobe, who made the call at a press briefing, as part of the launch of the coalition, said the sluggish progress in achieving “health for all Nigerians” has necessitated youths from the six geo-political zones of the federation to join efforts in stimulating necessary action at national, state and local levels towards the attainment of UHC.
She recalled that “in 2005, the then Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo directed that UHC must be achieved in the country by 2015. In fulfilling this mandate, he facilitated the creation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“Sadly, 13 years down the line, less than 12 per cent of Nigerians are fully covered by the NHIS programme, instead of the 90 per cent coverage as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), talk little of attaining UHC.”
George-Iruobe lamented that more young people who constitute the future of the nation are faced daily with diverse health challenges, adding that a lot of adolescents and young people die yearly mostly from preventable causes such as unprotected sex, drug abuse, and unsafe abortions amongst others.
She therefore said that NYC4UHC mission is to engage policy makers and relevant stakeholders to accelerate deliberate actions towards the attainment of UHC through advocacy, media engagement and multi stakeholder partnership towards a nation where everyone can access quality, sufficient and affordable healthcare.
“Focusing on every issue that hinges on the availability of and access to quality health care services, our geographic coverage shall span the 36 states of the country with headquarters in Abuja.
“To this end, we enjoin government at all levels, development partners, civil society groups, the private sector, media and the general public, to join and engage the youth movement by investing in terms of capacity building, resources mobilisation and high level decision making for the speedy actualisation of UHC in the country,” she stated.
She also called on the minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole to create a seat for the young people in the national steering committee of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF), to represent the voices of the young people in issues affecting them, as recommended by the Global Financing Facility (GFF).
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