The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria, has just re-elected Muhammadu Buhari for a second four-year term as president. Whilst the health agenda did not feature prominently in the debates leading up to the elections, it is a common and significant concern for many Nigerian citizens.
Health remains a core vulnerability in Nigeria’s drive towards economic growth and prosperity, yet as the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria’s public spending on health is less than 1 per cent of its GDP and it total health expenditure accounts to only approximately 4 per cent of its GDP – a stark contrast to the 15 per cent target agreed in the Abuja Declaration for health spending that was endorsed by African leaders in 2001. Consequently, access to basic health services remains a challenge to most citizens and is reflected in the highest levels of out-of-pocket health spending.
However the last four years have shown some progress: there is a coherent national health strategy and increasing political focus and leadership directed towards UHC. This includes improved legislative capabilities for health and an enhanced engagement in health by the media and the public.
The next four years now present Nigeria with an opportunity to make strides towards UHC and improve its human and economic capital. This will largely depend upon the commitments of its political leaders to deliver tangible, measurable and sustainable solutions to current and future health challenges.
This event provides participants from governments and civil society the opportunity to reflect on Nigeria’s journey to UHC over the last four years and to consider the priority areas for accelerating UHC progress in the coming four years.
Prof Isaac Adewole, Hon Minister of Health, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Senator Dr Olanrewaju Tejuoso, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Nigeria
Prof. Ladi Hamalai, Director General, National Institute for Legislative & Democratic Studies, Nigeria
Dr Nduka Obaigbena, Publisher, This Day Newspaper, Nigeria
Prof. Hadiza Galadanchi, Director African Centre of Excellence for Population Health & Policy, Nigeria
Mr Robert Yates, Director, UHC Policy Forum, Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House
Chair: Prof Aliko Ahmed, Associate Fellow and Convener, Public Health Africa Policy Forum, Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House
Chair: Dr Ngozi Erondu, Senior Research Associate, Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House