Lawmakers at the National Assembly has raised concerns over the country’s rising mortality indices, including that of infants, saying the data was saddening despite huge resources allocated to the health sector over the years.
They argued that it was important for relevant stakeholders to rise up to the occasion in addressing the challenges and proffer lasting solutions to the menace.
The lawmakers who spoke under the aegis of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health said that with the rising indices, it had become imperative that the desired improvement in the health of Nigerians cannot be achieved through the exclusive National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) being adopted by the Federal Government.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, called for prioritization of health security in the country on the template of Universal Health Coverage.
Reading text of the press conference on the 4th Annual Legislative Summit on Health, the lawmaker assured that the rising high mortality indices in the country would form the focus of discourse at the 4th Annual Legislative Summit on Health, to be held in Abuja next week.
According to him, these actions by the Legislature have become critically necessary as the country’s mortality indices have remained extremely high with minimal improvements, despite the magnitude of resources contributed to improving the statistics.
“For instance, the National Demographic Health Survey (2018) findings revealed that in the seven years preceding the survey, infant mortality rate was 67 deaths per 1,000 live births; under five mortality was 132 deaths per 1,000 live births; and maternal mortality ratio, 512 deaths per 100,000 live births.
“Similar dismal indices are recorded across different health indicators and call for accelerated responses like this one, across different spheres of stakeholders to address the challenges giving rise to these.”
In addressing the problem, Oloriegbe maintained that health security must be prioritized in the country through Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“Although the country is making attempts to take giant strides in its pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC); these efforts and whatever achievements have been recorded could be quickly eroded if health security is not prioritized.
“This is obvious in the effect of the currently ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks that have greatly impacted the health system negatively.
“The approaches to ensure that health security is prioritized and at the same time the country’s UHC pursuit is not hindered is the focus of our discussions at this year’s 4th Annual Legislative Summit on Health,” he said.