Healthcare: NCDs account for 29% of all deaths in Nigeria – WHO


The World Health Organization WHO has indicated that more than half of the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty every year because of the costs of paying for care out of their pockets. To reverse this trend, WHO Country Representative, Walter Mulombo noted that the global health body has supported countries in making sure that they have a radical reorientation of health systems towards primary health care, as the foundation of universal health coverage, among others.

At the 6th Annual Conference of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) organized in collaboration with the WHO in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, Mulombo also identified media as a critical partner, adding that if well harnessed that it has potential to accelerate achievement of UHC in any country. Represented by Ahmed Khedr, WHO Field Presence Cluster Lead, Mulombo observed that healthcare in Nigeria is financed predominantly by households, who pay for healthcare out of their pockets.

He said: “Here in Nigeria, healthcare is financed predominantly by households who pay for healthcare from their pockets. Currently, Nigeria bears the highest burden of Tuberculosis (TB) and paediatric HIV, while accounting for 50 per cent of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) in Africa. “Although the prevalence of malaria is declining (from 42% to 23%), Nigeria contributes 27 per cent of global cases and 24 per cent of global deaths. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) account for 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria with premature mortality from the four main NCDs (Hypertension, Diabetes, Cancers, Malnutrition), accounting for 22 per cent of all deaths”.

While stressing that pathway to UHC is slim, Dr. Molumbo emphasised the need for leaders to prioritise health for all by ensuring that everyone have access to health, adding that until something is done, the negative externalities would pose huge losses to the Nigerian economy. “There is no single pathway to UHC. All countries must find their own way in the context of their own social, political and economic circumstances. But the foundation everywhere must be a political commitment to building a strong health care system, based on primary care with an emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion. “Such health systems do not only provide the best health outcomes; they are also the best defense against outbreaks and other health emergencies. In this sense, UHC and health security are truly two sides of the same coin”.

Dr. Molumbo who affirmed the continued support of the WHO urged participants to utilised the opportunity of the conference and come up with ideas that will help in promoting the health sector. In his welcome address, President of ANHEJ, Hassan Zaggi expressed worry over the poor state of Primary Healthcare Facilities in Nigeria, urging relevant authorities to put in place necessary measures that will help poor people to access quality health care in the country. Zaggi said that the theme of the workshop: “is apt as it afford participants the opportunity to examined the current issues in the health sector.


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