Don’t vote politicians without health coverage campaign promise, ex-Ogun commissioner tells electorate

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former Commissioner for Health in Ogun State, Dr. Kunle Salako, has urged residents of the state not to vote for politicians who do not include Universal Health Coverage as part of the campaign promises.

Salako, who lamented that most of the campaign promises made by political candidates in the past were devoid of the scheme, said that it was high time the people rejected any politician whose campaigns did not cover qualitative health care.

Speaking on the theme, “Be Active: Physical Exercise for Non-Communicable Diseases” at the unveiling of Mercy Rescue Foundation held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists Secretariat in Abeokuta, the state capital, he said, “The Universal Basic Health should be one of the thing we demand from our politicians when they come to campaign to us. One major way to build the people is to assure them of good health.”

The former commissioner, who urged the citizens to choose good health above any other electoral promises, including good roads, said that it was high time electorates cast their votes for politicians interested in their sound health.

“I don’t think anything is more important than health. If anybody promises me good roads and good health, I will definitely pick good health over good roads and, therefore, as electorate, we must know that health is number one and nothing can be more important,” he said.

Salako, who served as a commissioner under the Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s administration, charged the Federal Government to implement the UCH and urgently make it compulsory for employers of labour in the country to insure the health of their employees, based on the scheme.

He noted that there was need for the Federal, state and local governments, including the private sectors, to insure the health of their workers in accordance with the scheme for them to enjoy sound health.

“The government need to fund  it (UHC) more and make sure that the employers  of labour must, as a matter of compulsion, insure the health of their employees so that it provides the Federal Government, state government, the  local government, private sector and individuals the avenue to be cleared for more coverage,” Salako said.

The Universal Health Coverage refers to a system that provides healthcare and financial protection to all citizens of a particular country. It is organised around providing a specified package of benefits to all members of a society with the end goal of providing financial risk protection, improved access to health services and improved health outcomes.

In Nigeria, like other countries of the world, health insurance is the fastest way to achieve Universal Health Coverage. Unfortunately, the National Health Insurance Scheme established in 2005 has achieved only about three per cent coverage.