As the 2023 general elections draw near, the Health Sector Reform Coalition on Monday urged political parties and their candidates to prioritise the healthcare sector in the country.
The coalition noted that while the country is en route to the general elections in a few days, the health sector has historically endured the backseat in Nigeria’s political and electoral priorities, hence the discouraging health indices in the country.
The HSRC is a coalition of more than 100 Civil Society Organisations and other non-government actors who came together to drive citizens-led health sector reforms in Nigeria.
The coalition played a principal role in driving the advocacy activities that led to the passage and signing of the National Health Act in 2014.
While speaking during a briefing in Abuja to analyse the health manifestoes of the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party, the Labour Party, and the New Nigeria People’s Party, the Chair of the HSRC, Chika Offor, noted that while the top four candidates have expressed varying levels of understanding of the issues facing the health sector and how to address them, the coalition is willing to support whoever emerges as the winner of the election to build the health system.
She said, “It is hoped that whoever wins the election will drive the country to achieve the following targets: Improved budgetary allocations to the health sector; aggressive three-tier health investments in partnership with state and local governments; Rapid expansion of quality primary healthcare and human resources.
“Others are pro-poor health financing inspired by innovative pooling of resources; mainstreaming effective anti-corruption measures in the health sector, and investments in health research to guide the governance of the health sector and to reduce dependence on imported medical consumables.”
Also, in his remarks, the President of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, Prof Oladapo Ladipo said, “The apparent data-driven understanding of health issues across the candidates’ manifestos, is a source of optimism for the group and generality of Nigerians who have been yearning for a political dispensation that will convert the robust health policy environment into better health outcomes for all Nigerian people.
“We urge the political class to abide by the principles of free, fair, and credible electoral process, bereft of any violence even as our health system may be incapable of handling resultant casualties in many communities.”