By Ikenna Osuoha
Ms May Ikokwu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI), has identified strengthened and functional community-based Primary Health Centres as key to eliminating health inequalities in the country.
Ikokwu said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday in commemoration of World Health Day with the theme: “building a fairer and healthier world.”
She said that viable primary health centres had the capacity to drive national wellness with a rural base.
“If functional primary health centres are situated in our various communities, it will give rural dwellers regular access to affordable healthcare.
“It will also decongest the secondary health facilities as the General Hospitals and bring about universal health coverage,” Ikokwu said.
The SOHI boss, who frowned at the dilapidated state of many of the country’s primary health centres, said their transformation was paramount in achieving a fairer and healthier world without leaving anyone behind.
Ikokwu, however, emphasized the imperatives of guaranteeing quality healthcare for all including older persons and retirees.
She explained that it was important for older persons and retirees to be given a medical cover that enables them access to quality healthcare even after retirement.
According to her, primary health centres are affordable and nearer to the rural people thereby giving them hope with health equality.
Ikokwu, who reiterated the need for revitalised primary health centres, called for a National Health Insurance policy for all Nigerians.
She urged the government at all levels to extend health insurance to all Nigerians aimed at reducing poverty as well as out-of-pocket challenges that had denied many access to healthcare.
“Many Nigerians have no access to quality healthcare because of poverty, whereas quality healthcare is a right to all irrespective of your social status,” she said.
Ikokwu, therefore, urged the government to devise policies that would not only guarantee national health but eliminate poverty and other factors posing as barriers to affordable quality healthcare.
NAN reports that April 7 of each year marks the celebration of World Health Day. The theme for 2021 is building a fairer and healthier world.
From its inception at the First Health Assembly in 1948 and since taking effect in 1950, the celebration has aimed to create awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern for the World Health Organization. (NAN)