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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO)

WHO Commends Nigeria’s Initiative Towards Achieving UHC

The Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, has commended President Bola Tinubu for the unveiling of Nigeria’s Health Renewal Initiative.

He described the initiative as a turning point for Nigeria and indeed Africa.

Ghebreyesus in a congratulatory message on Tuesday to commemorate the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day, said that the scale of the country’s ambition was a model for other Africans.

According to Ghebreyesus, the initiative, when implemented, will send a powerful message throughout the continent that UHC is possible and can be done.

“If a country as large and complex as Nigeria can achieve UHC, then anyone can, and I am especially pleased to see that all levels of government and sectors were represented.

“You have understood that achieving UHC is not the job of the ministry alone but a collective work,” he said.

He noted that the country was not starting from scratch because it was building on investment and gains it had over the years.

“Nigeria has many achievements of which to be proud of including intercepting transmission of wild polio virus, managing COVID-19, improving immunisation coverage, expanding health insurance, reducing the burden of HIV, malaria and TB and responding to multiple diseases,” he said.

According to him, the health renewal compact signed on Tuesday was a powerful commitment to build on those achievements that were very important as the country’s current growth goes as 2.5 per cent .

Ghebreyesus said that the population of Nigeria was predicted to double by 2050.

“As we always say, UHC is a political choice and it is a choice you are making, but it is not a choice that is just on paper, it is made in digits and policy decisions inside and outside the health sector.

“Most of the achievements were made by investing in primary healthcare which is the most inclusive, cost effective and efficient part.

“Investing in primary healthcare means investing in the people to leverage the health, and care workers are the backbone of every health system,” he said.

According to him, it is a welcome fact that the Nigerian government is working the talk with the health sector renewal investment initiative.

“I congratulate you on the initiative with its goals of strengthening governance, improving access to quality care, supporting research and development, and local production and strengthening security and climate resilience.

“Making the initiative work requires rigorous implementation, careful monitoring to ensure value for money performance and quality care.

“WHO is proud to be your partner in this journey so far,” he said.

He thanked the WHO Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo, for his work in the country.

Ghebreyesus said that he had planned to be in Abuja, but had to go for a medical check up.

According to him, his doctor asked him not to move and as such one should always listen to his or her doctor.

“Given that this is an important event, I really wanted to be in Nigeria.

“I congratulate you President Bola Tinubu for your election into the office.

“l look forward to working with you and your government in the months and years ahead.

“I thank Prof. Ali Pate, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, for his leadership and partnership for health in so many different capabilities over so many years,” said the WHO boss.