A renowned scholar, and Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Enugu Campus, Professor Obinna Onwujekwe, has called for declaration of state of emergency in the nation’s health sector, describing health services in the country as very embarrassing.
Professor Onwujekwe who made the call at the weekend while presenting the 74th Inaugural Lecture of the University entitled, “Moving Nigeria from Low Coverage to Universal Health Coverage: Health System Challenges, Equity and the Evidence-Base”, before a capacity crowd inside the Moot Court at Enugu-campus, Prof Onwujekwe, said the weakness of the Nigerian health system was particularly manifest in the shocking maternal and child health indices.
He revealed that the country has a very high maternal mortality ratio of 630 per 100, 000 live births, 58 per cent ANC coverage, 45 per cent delivery by skilled birth attendants, very high under-5 mortality rate of 153 per 1,000 live births in urban areas, and 243 per 1,000 live births in rural communities in the country.
His words: “It is estimated that every day 2,300 under-5 children and 145 women of child bearing age die in Nigeria, and to paint a very vivid image, this is like 12mid-size planes crashing in Nigeria daily with no survivours, sadly, the system is not really paying attention”.
The inaugural lecturer, however, suggested that the Nigerian health system, should strive to achieve universal coverage of, at least, all essential healthcare services, pointing out that considerations of efficiency and equity are paramount in the achievement of universal coverage.
Continuing, he said, “Equity is particularly important as universal coverage implies the explicit coverage of all citizens no matter their socio-economic status, gender, age, geographic location, education, occupation, religion, tribe, creed or other characteristics, in fact under universal health coverage, all animals are equal; but some are more equal than others.”
Prof Onwujekwe further disclosed that the World Health Organisation ranked Nigerian health system 187th out of 191 countries surveyed, superior only to four countries engulfed in armed conflicts, adding that the major criterion that lowered the ranking of Nigeria was the issue of poor level of financial access to healthcare.
“Most developed countries have organised their healthcare systems around the principle of universal coverage which requires that everyone within a country can access the same range of services according to needs and preferences, regardless of income, social status, or residency, and that people are empowered to use these services”, the university don remarked.
He noted that improving the functionality of health systems and achieving equitable access and affordability of healthcare services to all is encapsulated in current efforts to universal coverage.
Professor Onwujekwe disclosed that in 2010, World Health Organisation (WHO), proposed four target indicators for countries to use to measure progress towards achieving universal coverage, and enumerated them to include total health expenditure of at least 4 per cent-5 per cent of the gross domestic product, Out-of pocket spending of not more than 30-40 per cent of total health expenditure, over 90 per cent of the population covered by pre-payment and risk pooling schemes, as well as close to 100 per cent coverage of population with social assistance and safety-net programmes.
Corpse Of Woman Found In Ebonyi Hotel Room
The police in Ebonyi State say they have discovered the body of a yet to be identified middle-aged woman in a hotel room in Abakaliki, the state capital. The spokesperson of the police in the state, Loveth Odah, stated this yesterday.
She said the body has deep cuts on the chest and neck and has been deposited in a mortuary. According to the spokesman, it was discovered at Crown Garden Hotel located along the ever-busy Afikpo road in the capital city.
Mrs Odah, who said that the victim was found in the pool of her own blood, said the suspect had been identified as one Uchenna Awoke.
She said the hotel manager, Emmanuel Eze, the supervisor, and other workers had been taken to the police station for questioning and accused the hotel management of negligence.
“The manager of the hotel, the supervisor and other staff of the hotel were taken to the station for questioning and I must confess to you that the whole thing is negligence on the part of the hotel management. How can a guest be murdered in a hotel room and days after, the management is not aware of the incident.”
“We will investigate the matter properly and I assure you, the perpetrator of the act must be arrested and prosecuted. All we are asking is for the members of the public to avail the police of useful information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect.”
Senate Passes S’East Dev Commission Bill
The Senate yesterday passed the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2018.
The proposed commission aims at enhancing the infrastructural development of the South East zone, which is grappling with huge ecological challenges.
It also seeks to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the zone.
The proposed legislation requires the concurrence of the House of Representatives to become a bill of the National Assembly, and the President’s assent to become a law.
Senators Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) and Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) jointly sponsored the bill read in the Senate on June 22, 2016.
Its passage in the Red Chamber followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service by its former Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, after Paulker’s presentation, was considered clause by clause by the committee of the whole, and amendments made by the lawmakers were read for the third time and eventually passed.
In his remarks, presiding Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, commended his colleagues for a job well done.
In his words, “Every morning we pray that God should give us the grace to do only those things that will promote the peace and unity of this country.
“I believe that we have shown today that we are committed to the unity of this country, and it is this unity that will give us faith in this country.
“This faith will in turn help us to pursue peace and progress,” he said.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, members the South East caucus of the Senate, led by Sen. Enhinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), thanked their colleagues and members of the committee for their efforts.
Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, urged the President to sign the bill into law “as soon as we tidy it up and bring to him, in the interest of the unity and progress of Nigeria”.
“This will put to rest the long-drawn agitation in the South East, and the difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts that started at the end of the civil war.
“All things we see always will end up at the negotiating table, which is what we have done,” he said.
The lawmaker said he hoped the House of Representatives would give concurrence to the bill as it went in the Senate.
When established, the South East Development Commission would be the third zonal interventionist body in the country.
2019: Oyedepo Predicts Peace In Nigeria
Bishop David Oyedepo, the Founder and Presideng Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, on Saturday predicted that nothing would disturb the peace of Nigeria and its story would change for the better in the year 2019.
Oyedepo made the declaration at the just concluded annual prophetic gathering of the Winners’ family, christened the “Dominion”, in a satellite telecast of the church.
In the telecast monitored in Abuja, the cleric also declared that 2019 would be a year of “I have Dominion”.
“Nothing will tamper with the peace of Nigeria; the story will change for the better in the name of Jesus.
“Nigeria shall not see bloodshed, the Prince of Peace will continue to dominate in Nigeria, in Africa and Nigeria is declared blessed.
“Anywhere you step, accident is forbidden; death will not come near you and our nation.
“Anything that is of grace in my life, I freely release upon you today.
“God has opened the year 2019 to us, celebrate Him because its our year of “I have Dominion,” he said.
The Bishop added that the year 2019 would be a year of humbling testimonies for Nigeria and pace-setting testimonies.
He further declared that 2019 would be a colourful year for the nation.
According to the cleric, as long as Jesus has the final say on the issues of Nigeria, it will experience greatness.
Oyedepo said that there would be no more cause of alarm in any area of the nation and its citizens.
He advised Christians in Nigeria to delight themselves in the spirit of servant-hood, adding that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood.
“The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood. As you keep rising on the ladder of leadership, you must retain our spirit of servant-hood, constantly working to add value to others and be kingdom minded,” he said.
According to him, dedication is at the root of dominion, saying: “Sow yourself as a seed by being totally dedicated to God and His Kingdom’’.
He told his congregation that sacrificial giving guarantees the meeting of all their needs.
“When you engage in taking care of the well-being of others, God is also committed to your well-being,” he explained. The cleric admonished Christians would engage in meeting the needs of the needy, every barrier on their path of destiny would be crushed.
“Nobody tampers with your life, your career, your family and goes away with it because you are promoted to God’s kingdom.
“God will stand for your defence in the day of trouble. Every sacrificial giver has a defence around him in the day of trouble always have that in mind,” he said.
He reminded his congregation that the Church is not a building; the Church is a people and the Redeemed of the Lord.
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