In a bid to strengthen health coverage in Nigeria, Mrs Toyin Saraki on Monday met with WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti.
The meeting is part of the meeting of the Global Policy Group (GPG), the highest level of internal governance and policy making within WHO.
Mrs Saraki who is a Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the WHO Region Office for Africa (AFRO)
Top on the agenda for discussion was Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria and other issues of strategic importance to the WHO.
Mrs Saraki, who is also the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), commended the introduction of WHO AFRO’s focused curriculum for the professional qualification education of Midwives and Nurses in Africa.
She said that such huge investment in the technical workforce, especially in the nursing and midwifery workforce, was an imperative for achieving UHC.
She commended Dr. Moeti, as the first woman to hold the post of WHO Regional Director and also hailed Dr. Tedros who is the first African to become WHO Director-General.
She commended the duo for breaking new grounds for Africa, saying: “We must push ahead and achieve healthcare for everyone, everywhere.
“As the Founder-Director of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), I work closely with our midwives on the frontline, as part of the global Every Woman Every Child Strategy to end all preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030.
“UNICEF’s recent report “Every Child Alive” reminds us that although there has been tangible progress on maternal and infant mortality rates, there is still much more to be done.
“Five newborn babies die every minute across the world – 2.6 million tragedies every year. Of the ten highest-risk countries, eight are in sub-Saharan Africa. 80% of these deaths are easily preventable – which demonstrates the urgency with which Governments should treat their health systems,” she said.
Mrs Saraki who is the wife of the President of the Nigerian Senate insisted that UHC was a “once-in-a-generation opportunity and effort to change the continent’s future.
She said that all stakeholders must work towards strengthened global health and economic security and achieving the goals of a new era of sustainable development.
”I welcome the leadership shown by the WHO on UHC and I echo their call on all Governments to honour the commitments made to provide healthcare for everyone, everywhere.”
In her remark, the African Region Director of WHO, Dr. Moeti said that the WHO Africa Region is elated to be in partnership with the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.
“We are particularly interested in strengthening midwifery education in Nigeria, as well as working with the WBFA to galvanize efforts across Nigeria to push this amazing country towards the goal of Universal Health Coverage,” she said.