A Non-Governmental Organization, Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation, Thursday, held it’s 2023 edition of Amaka Chiwuike-Uba international ASTHMA Conference ,ACUBAIAC 2013, with a call for patnership and adequate funding in the health sector
Convener of the event, Dr Chiwuike Uba made the call in his address at the Conference which was held in collaboration with the Nigerian Medical Association and Nigerian Thoratic Society in Enugu.
He said the event was to sensitize the public on the dangers of Asthma, allergy and respiratory conditions, a disease that caused the death of his wife
Dr Chiwuike Uba, Chairman, Board of Trustees ACUF, said that ACUBIAC 2023 was the third in the series of international advocacy and public-private dialogue for a better health sector environment.
“There is a need to rethink how UHC is carried out and make it a community-based issue with transparent management and involving the people notwithstanding the little contribution they will gather.
Pix- Dr Uba
“The present coverage of UHC is still abysmally low compared with the millions of Nigerians not covered and they are currently living in extreme poverty in the country.
As a nation, we must move fast and check the rate of unnecessary and poverty-induced death all around us due to lack of money or an adequately planned healthcare provision system,” he said.
He said that the program was also put together to sensitize members of the public ,government, organisations on the need to provide adequate healthcare to the people, which needs a pool of fund, insurance
Insurance is about putting finance together. The new National Health Coverage says everybody must be covered. To ensure that everybody has health coverage, we will develop a communique and a policy advocacy , engage the government, let them understand the need to improve health facilities”, he said .
In his speech, Dr Uche Ojinmah, President of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), assured of the association’s continuous partnership with the foundation as it champions universal access to quality health for all Nigerians.
Represented by Dr Tony Onyia, the immediate past Chairman of NMA in Enugu State,Ojinmah noted that there was a need for a holistic approach in solving the health financing needs of Nigerians especially for the less privileged.
On his part, Prof. Prince Udegbunam-Ele, President of Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS), said that the treatment and management of asthma remained a major challenge in the medical world, adding that “there is nothing as painful as acute asthma”.
Udegbunam-Ele, said that asthma remains a major headache of the medical world, while the pain of chronic asthma can be described as the grip of the devil himself.
“I must commend ACUF, its Chairman and Board members for keeping the treatment, awareness and support to asthmatic patients alive and going the extra mile on the illness,” he said.
Speaking, the Former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, called on government and corporate organizations to strengthen and expand the reach and number of diseases being treated in the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC).
Represented by Dr Innocent Ugwu, Adewole said that the move will greatly assist millions of poor people to access quality and essential healthcare, which their out of pockets expenditure cannot cover,” Adewole said on Thursday in an opening remark at the 2023 Amaka Chiwuike-Uba International Asthma Conference (ACUBIAC 2023).
Adewole, said that due to increasing poverty, it was becoming difficult for most poor people and homes to take care of their health especially those within rural communities.
He commended the Chairman and Board of ACUF for organizing the conference and pushing the narrative of an all inclusive healthcare agenda.
Speaking, former Vice-President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Fidelis Ede, said that the foundation needed to push its asthma campaign down to the rural communities where there is multi-dimensional poverty and lack.
Ede said that there was a need to finance healthcare from a bottom-to-top approach; thus, putting emphasis on the grassroots people even as his organisation was willing to partner the foundation in this direction.
A renowned member of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Amb. Don Odunze, said that the clergy are currently disturbed at the rate of poverty and people including families not able to meet basic necessities of life, especially healthcare.
He said that the monies being expended on entertainment and fashion in the country could be channeled to healthcare provision and it would make a huge difference among the people especially the poor.
Declaring the event open, Enugu state Governor, Dr Peter Mbah, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeanyi Agujiobi ,encouraged people to seek medical attention when they’re sick and not to take to self medication..
He disclosed that the state Government had done well in health sector and had signed Law 2017 Universal Health Coverage into law and had commenced enrolment of residents into the UHC scheme.
“We have already enrolled 150,000 residents in the state’s UHC scheme and we are planning to expand the coverage more,” he said.
The governor noted that the state government had been putting initiatives and programmes to enhance the health and well being of the residents, especially those aimed at reducing the health and financial burden of families.
Others who spoke at the event commended the Foundation for carrying out the sensitization programme. They urged the government to fund the health sector adequately and patner Amaka Chiwuike-Uba Foundation, noting that the Foundation has started achieving it’s goals.
Fielding questions from Newsmen on the challenges of Brain drain being experienced in the country, , Dr Uba said,”Brain drain is a multi-point epidemic. In terms of notification it’s not encouraging . Brain drain does not mean Doctors are not paid. When you include health funding, most Doctors and medical personnel will stay.
Training of Doctors is continuos ( both internally and externally) Training Doctors abroad is not a waste because when they migrate , they still being the money back. As we have social cost, we have social benefits.The cost of doing business in Nigeria is very high. Government should subsidize some of these costs Asthma is already known abroad. Government recognises what we do”, Ubah said .
He thanked the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Nike, Enugu,Most Rev Onyia and others who supported the Foundation
Highlight of the event was award presentation to those who had supported the Foundation.
Author: Maureen Ikpeama