Understanding the context of health coverage in Nigeria and progress towards effective Universal Health Coverage

The Academy of Medical Sciences and the Nigerian Academy of Science convened a virtual policy workshop on achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria on 2-3 September 2020. Watch the recording of final session including presentations from Robert Yates, Dr Nneka Orji, Dr Oye Gureje, Dr Modupe Oludipe, and Njide Ndili. 

Status: Completed

The Academy of Medical Sciences and the Nigerian Academy of Science convened a virtual policy workshop on achieving Universal Health Coverage Nigeria on 2-3 September 2020.  

Watch the livestream here: 

A written report of this meeting is available to download on the right hand side of this page.  

The World Health Organization estimates that at least half of the world’s population still lack full coverage of essential health services. The global commitment towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has been affirmed as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UHC means that all individuals and communities should have access to the full spectrum of essential and effective health services including promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care without suffering financial hardship.

About 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty by having to pay for health care, including 11 million Africans per year. In Nigeria, the percentage of individual populations reliant on out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure remains as high as 77.2%. A multitude of barriers and challenges exist which prevent the achievement of UHC, many of which are specific to Nigeria and the West Africa region, including the contextual challenges inflicted by political instability and the recent Ebola Virus outbreak. Some challenges are shared however, and global support can help accelerate the attainment of UHC through global and regional level research, information gathering, financial investment and technical assistance. Establishing UHC depends on many governmental departments and aspects including improving infrastructure, training the healthcare workforce, increasing the number and quality of health facilities from hospitals to local clinics, developing information systems and ensuring the supply of medicines and medical technologies. 

UHC is an important step towards social inclusion and equity. Many countries are making progress towards achieving UHC, with most low- and middle- income countries, including Nigeria, in the process of designing and implementing strategies to ensure their whole population has access to essential health services, which must be of high quality. Activity across the region includes: exempting populations from user fees; community-based and national health insurance schemes aiming to minimize out-of-pocket expenditure; and initiatives aimed at scaling up and improving access to maternal, new born and child healthcare (MNCH), amongst others.

This workshop looked to consider the vision and status for universal health coverage in Nigeria, engaging with policymakers and researchers across sectors to support the implementation of this agenda and ensure that health policies are evidence-based. The aims were to:

  • Provide a platform for experts to reach a consensus on the vision for UHC in Nigeria.
  • Bring together evidence on what progress has been made to achieving UHC in Nigeria.
  • Identify tools and innovation that could accelerate progress to embed and scale-up effective UHC.
  • Identify shared research challenges and barriers to achieving quality UHC.
  • Provide a platform for multi-disciplinary experts to share their UHC and research experiences, challenges and successes to allow learning from one another.
  • Agree on a list of research priorities and solutions to overcome the identified barriers that can be addressed at country level.
  • Impact policy uptake, specifically through the use of science and investment in research and research leadership.

Click here to find out more about our previous GCRF workshops including our workshop on Achieving Universal Health Coverage in LMICs: the role of quality of care research and read the workshop reports.

This workshop is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund that aims to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Visit our GCRF webpage to read more about the fund. 


Key contacts

Addressing antimicrobial resistance with a One Health approach invite-only symposium and workshop

Book Now

2024 FORUM Sir Colin Dollery Lecture: Health research where you are – from GP to care home

Book Now

Mentoring Masterclass - June 2024

Book Now
View more
FB Twitter Instagram Youtube