A public health expert, Dr Gabriel Adakole has said that community health workers were key to attaining Universal Health Coverage(UHC), in the rural areas.
Adakole said this in an interview with the press, in Abuja, on the sideline of the 25th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the National Guild of Medical Directors (GMDs).
At the programme with the theme “Achieving Universal Health Coverage”, with “Rethinking Business Models For Private Practice in Nigeria” as a sub-theme, Adakole said that putting community health workers at the centre of global health goals would drive UHC in Nigeria.
”We have a human resource crisis in the country and in global health generally; we will fall short in achieving UHC and Sustainable Development Goal 3, if Nigeria does not have the people to deliver healthcare,” he said.
Adakole said that it was important that the federal government emphasised the role of health workers in the rural areas in the country.
He said that the community health workers were critical in the achievement of UCH, noting that they were usually the first and often the only link to essential health services for millions of people, in low and middle-incomes groups.
“It is because of these crucial advantage that the World Health Organisation(WHO), strongly recommended that community health workers be remunerated with a package commensurate to their responsibilities and skills.
It is important for the government to recognise the potential and contributions of the community health workers in achieving the targets of the UHC; recongnising their potential can be cost-effective to the country.”
He, however, called on the government to invest more in the health system by strengthening it through training health workers to deliver social impact to improve access to quality healthcare for rural communities.
Adakole said that the investment would give a platform for the improvement of healthcare and access to essential medicines and vaccines.