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Nigeria’s Death Rate Extremely High – NASS



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The National Assembly on Thursday declared that Nigeria’s mortality indices remained extremely high despite huge resources allocated to the health sector over the years by the government at all levels.

The National Assembly Joint Committee on Health disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, who read the text of the press conference on the 4th Annual Legislative Summit on Health, called for prioritization of health security in the country on the template of Universal Health Coverage.

Oloriegbe added that the desired improvement in the health of Nigerians cannot be achieved through the exclusive National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) being administered by the Federal Government.

He said issues on the high mortality indices in the country would form the focus of discourse at the 4th Annual Legislative Summit on Health, to be held in Abuja next week.

Oloriegbe said: “These actions by the Legislature have become critically necessary as the country’s mortality indices have remained extremely high with minimal improvements, despite the magnitude of resources contributed to improving the statistics.

“For instance, the National Demographic Health Survey (2018) findings revealed that in the seven years preceding the survey, the infant mortality rate was 67 deaths per 1,000 live births; under-five mortality was 132 deaths per 1,000 live births; and maternal mortality ratio, 512 deaths per 100,000 live births.

“Similar dismal indices are recorded across different health indicators and call for accelerated responses like this one, across different spheres of stakeholders to address the challenges giving rise to these.”

He added that in addressing the problem, health security should be prioritized in the country through Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

According to him, in achieving that, the exclusive model of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) being practised, must be made inclusive by expanding its scope beyond the five per cent of the population it covers to an appreciable percentage of health care deliveries.

“Although the country is making attempts to take giant strides in its pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC); these efforts and whatever achievements have been recorded could be quickly eroded if health security is not prioritized.

“This is obvious in the effect of the currently ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks that have greatly impacted the health system negatively.

“The approaches to ensure that health security is prioritized and at the same time the country’s UHC pursuit is not hindered is the focus of our discussions at this year’s 4th Annual Legislative Summit on Health,” he said.

In his own remarks, the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Hon. Tanko Sununu said there is a need for an amendment to the National Health Insurance Scheme Act to provide for Universal Health Coverage and by extension, health security.

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