Former president of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has urged Nigerians to interrogate politicians on their plans for the health sector during campaigns ahead of the 2023 elections.
Saraki said this while speaking at the Universal Health Coverage Summit organised by Chatham House at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.
He said: “Very soon, politicians will start campaigning to be President or to be governors. Nigerians must ask them, ‘What are your plans for universal health coverage; and how do you intend to achieve it?’ When the time comes, the answers to these questions must be considered by the electorate.”
According to him, Nigerian leaders at the national and sub-national levels need to take healthcare delivery for all its citizens more seriously, in order to put healthcare and health security coverage on the front burner.
“As a medical doctor, this is a topic that is close to my heart. It is a topic that I believe that we all need to get on board to ensure that more Nigerians have access to healthcare coverage.
“To achieve development, the Nigerian population must be healthy. If we can get healthcare coverage right as a nation, we will be doing a lot for our citizens.
“However, the people that truly matter, the political leaders and decision-makers at the national and sub-national levels should be the ones at summits like this one to discuss what their manifestos and plans in the healthcare sector are for the Nigerian people.
“We can pass three more laws or five more laws. However, unless the leadership of the nation and our states believe in holistic healthcare coverage for all like all the doctors and healthcare public policy experts in this room, we will not be able to achieve universal healthcare coverage,” the former Kwara State Governor said.
He also emphasised that in a post-2023 Nigeria, the Federal government and states must focus on how to ensure that the less privileged receive healthcare coverage between 2023 and 2025.
“We must look at how we can achieve this between 2023 and 2027. The State and Federal governments must first focus on how to ensure that the less privileged in our society receive healthcare coverage between 2023 and 2025.”