A far-reaching health sector report on Nigeria during the critical COVID-19 pandemic has carpeted the federal government on the failure of commercialized healthcare delivery.
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The report also highlighted the discrimination and inequality in the enjoyment of the right to health.
The report “The failure of commercialized healthcare in Nigeria during the COVID-19 Pandemic” which was presented to the media by the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in partnership with the Justice and Empowerment Initiatives and with the support of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) on Wednesday, 2, 2022, decried the inability of the government to provide accessibility and affordability of healthcare service to all citizens.
Also the report observed that despite the fact that Nigeria has the obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to health which is guaranteed under both its constitution and its international human rights treaties which it has signed and ratified it has failed to establish the best possible health system.
GI ,–,ESCR and JEI authored the report.
In its policy brief, it noted that “since the first COVID-19 Case was confirmed on 27 February 2020 the country has been struggling to guarantee the right to health of all, amidst shortage of accessible health facilities, medical staff and drugs.
Part of the four main findings in the report is that “Nigeria lacks universal, public healthcare services to respond to public health emergency. The country is critically short of health facilities, staff and medical equipment necessary to deliver COVID-10 treatment, testing, and vaccination to its population of more than 206 million in 2020.
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“Several barriers impede access to healthcare services amidst the pandemic; as such access is largely shaped by socioeconomic inequalities.
“Regulation and monitoring of private health providers by authorities are insufficient. There have been numerous cases of private clinics and hospitals not complying with scientifically appropriate medical standards and practices during the pandemic.
“Several private health providers offer substandard healthcare services and fail to comply with appropriate medical protocols and standards, including using expired drugs or employing unqualified staff, especially in urban informal settlement”.
Commenting on the report during the presentation, Executive Director (CAPPA) Akinbode Oluwafemi said the report opened the underbelly of the systemic failure in Nigeria, urging citizens to be on the alert and ensure that both the government and all stakeholders in the sector are made to be accountable.
Oluwafemi noted with regret that “health inequalities in accessing healthcare services in Nigeria are inherent to the overall marketised healthcare system, where access to medical care and thereby survival and dignified life is highly dependent on one’s social and economic status, including during the COVID-19 Pandemic”.
According to Rossella De Falco, Programme officer at the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights “widespread commercialization and privatisation of healthcare services stand in the way of the realization of the right to health in Nigeria. Public healthcare systems are more resilient to shocks such as pandemics and are thus fundamental for the realization of right to health”.
Comrade Enyo Okoko (Justice and Empowerment Initiatives) who was also one of the facilitators pointed out on the need to track governments budget/finances, ensure adequate partnership, reach-out to grassroots for proper sensitisation as well as interrogate/ engage those gearing up for leadership role in the land”.