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'Health insurance remains viable vehicle for achieving Universal Health Coverage'

By Olawale Adewale, The Nigerian Voice, Nasarawa
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The Senior Health Finance Advisor, United States Agency for International Developments - Health Finance and Governance (USAID - HFG) project, Dr Silvester Akande today said health insurance remains a viable vehicle for achieving Universal Health Coverage.

He said this at a 2-day training organized for journalists by USAID - HFG project in collaboration with Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage (LNUHC) and International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH) held in Lafia, Nasarawa state.

He observed that majority of people could not access medical treatment because of their inability to pay hospital bills. He explained that with heath insurance, people would be able to seek and get healthcare without facing catastrophic health expenditure.

He also noted that majority of people, particularly the informal sector are not enjoying health insurance at the moment and that without covering the informal sector, UHC might not be achieved.

He charged the media practitioners in Nigeria to improve on reportage of health issues, particularly the aspect of health financing and Universal Health Coverage.

The Chief of Party, HFG Project, Dr Gafar Alawode in his remarks appealed to journalists in the country to pay more attention to health financing and ensure adequate and accurate reportage of health issues.

Alawode said the training was organised to improve the knowledge and awareness of media practitioners on basics of health financing and components of Universal Health Coverage.

He added that the training was also organised to furnish the journalists with relevant information and motivate them to seek more update and current information about health issues in Nigeria and around the world.

Alawode charged journalists to step up the reportage of health policy issues. He urged them to report peoples health need and what the policy makers should do for the people to live healthy life.

A renowned journalist who is also the Executive Director of ISMPH, Mrs Moji Makanjuola charged journalists to equip themselves with current and latest information that would stand them out in their carrier.

In her presentations, the publisher of Scroll Magazine, Mrs Janet Mba Afolabi spoke on developmental journalism focusing on health. She charged participants to do quality investigative stories on health financing in Nigeria.

HFG project Knowledge Management and Communication Specialist, Mr Sonto Mbelo urged journalists to give adequate visibility to issues around health financing and Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.

Also, veteran journalist who retired from the Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA) Malam Danjuma Abdullahi in his presentation tasked journalists on objective reportage of health issues.