7th April of every year marks the World Health Day. This year, the theme of the celebration is ‘Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere’
Do you know what universal health coverage means? It means that you (yes you!) have the right to receive good quality health services when you need it without getting into financial difficulties. This sounds like one of those high-sounding WHO declarations that mean nothing to you in your small corner of the world. But guess what?! This applies to you. Your government agreed to it, signed off on it and indeed declared that it would ensure that 15% of its budget was dedicated to health so that you will not have to suffer any financial difficulty in choosing to access care or worse still have to choose between certain death and financial ruin when you fall ill.
So, how can you ensure that in Nigeria (and other countries where a lot still has to be done) we have access to the care we need without becoming penniless? We hold government accountable. There’s no better time than now. It’s an election year in 2019. National discussions are ongoing. When there are major road traffic accidents, we spend a few days to castigate the country’s leadership and how they have failed us in years past – leading to poor health service delivery in all aspects. But guess what? You control the narrative now. As the elections draw closer, let’s ask all those who wish to lead us their plans for UHC. It’s not something that happens in foreign lands…no! Examples of amazing progress towards UHC abound around us from East, South, Central and other West African countries. We can replicate same and better in our various countries.
So, the next time elections come around, let’s vote with our heads (facts) and not our hearts (sentiments). We can get this right!
Have a great week y’all 😀