By Chika Onyesi
By 2030, the World Health Organisation expects at least more than half of the world’s population to have access to essential health services.
This means that every country must achieve the universal health coverage target set by the United Nations in agreement with affiliates as part of efforts to attain Sustainable Development Goals.
Unfortunately, many nations are nowhere near attaining this global agreement despite only a few years to reaching the target date.
According to WHO, about 100 million people are extremely poor because of the cost of health care, while almost 800million others spend at least 10% of their domestic budgets paying for health care.
The solution to this according to the United Nations is for countries to intensify efforts at ensuring affordable and accessible health care for all their citizens.
In Nigeria, the World Health Organisation embarked on a health walk in collaboration with partners to call government’s attention to the dire need to facilitate Universal health coverage for all.
The free walk, run, dance event, tagged ‘‘Abuja Walk the Talk: “The Health for All Challenge” saw UN agencies, international and local NGOs, Diplomatic missions, Civil Societies and members of the public in attendance.
The walk according to the WHO Officer in Charge, Nigeria, Dr. Peter Clement is not only to call attention to the need for universal health coverage but to re-emphasize the benefits of exercise to the health and well-being of individuals.
‘‘The walk was successful, we have achieved a lot, participation was very high, so what we need to do is to sustain this walk, it must be something we can do monthly, come together endeavour to walk, this will help us live healthier lives’’ He says.
Meanwhile, the president of the Well Being Foundation, Mrs Toyin Saraki, who participated in the walk, said the challenge is to find ways to make everybody aware of the benefits of regular exercise to their health.
‘‘We advise that everybody should walk at least 35 minutes, three times a week, it curbs diabetes, heart disease, obesity and it just generally makes you feel much better’’ she says.
But more importantly she stressed that the walk was to ‘‘challenge duty bearers on the need for affordable quality health care that will not plunge people into misery when they fall ill’’
According to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, continuity of the initiative will go a long way to achieving expected outcomes for Universal health coverage in Nigeria.
About 6,500 persons participated in the second edition of the 8 kilometers Walk the Talk Challenge held in the FCT.