Nigeria Has Africa’s Highest TB, Paediatric HIV – WHO

Nigeria bears the highest burdens of tuberculosis and paediatric HIV, while accounting for 50 per cent of neglected tropical diseases in Africa, the World Health Organisation has said.

The WHO said although the prevalence of malaria has declined from 42 per cent to 23 per cent, Nigeria contributes 27 per cent of global cases and 24 per cent of global deaths.

The WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Mulombo, made these known on Thursday at the 6th Annual Conference of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists with the theme, ‘Health security, Universal Health Coverage, and National Health Insurance Act: How can Nigeria get it right – The role of the media in perspective.’

Dr. Mulombo, who was represented by the Field Presence Cluster Lead, WHO, Ahmed Khedr, said non-communicable diseases account for 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria with premature mortality from the four main NCDs-hypertension, diabetes, cancers, and malnutrition, accounting for 22 per cent of all deaths.

He said “As you are aware, the UHC means ensuring that all people have access to quality promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative health services they need at an affordable cost without the risk of financial hardship linked to paying for care.

Indeed, no one should get sick, denied healthcare, or die just because they are poor, or because the services they need are too far away from where they live.

“The WHO was founded 74 years ago on the conviction that health is a human right to be enjoyed by all people, not a privilege for the few. Although much has changed in 74 years, that conviction has not.

If the term ‘universal health coverage’ had existed in 1948, it would have been in the constitution of the WHO.

But even today, more than half the world’s population lacks access to essential health services, and almost 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty every year because of the costs of paying for care out of their own pockets.

“Here in Nigeria, healthcare is financed predominantly by households, who pay for healthcare out of their pockets.

With healthcare out-of-pocket expenditure at 70.5 per cent of the Current Health Expenditure in 2019, General Government Health Expenditure as a percentage of the GDP was 0.6 per cent, while Government Expenditure per Capita was $14.6 compared with the WHO’s $86 benchmark for universal health coverage.

“Currently, the country bears the highest burdens of tuberculosis and paediatric HIV, while accounting for 50 per cent of neglected tropical diseases in Africa.

Although the prevalence of malaria is declining (from 42 per cent to 23 per cent), the country contributes 27 per cent of global cases and 24 per cent of global deaths.

The NCDs account for 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria with premature mortality from the four main NCDs (Hypertension, Diabetes, Cancers, and Malnutrition) accounting for 22 per cent of all deaths.

“While the poorest households feel the heaviest impact of these inefficiencies and poor health outcomes as they have limited access to essential health services, the negative externalities pose huge losses to the Nigerian economy.

 

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