Agency tasks religious leaders, faith communities on Universal Health Coverage


RELIGIOUS leaders have been called upon to use their congregational platforms in promoting Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Mr Anthony Egwu, the Executive Secretary, Benue Health Insurance Agency (BHIA), made the call at a one day “Faith and Health Retreat” organised by Nigeria Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS ( NINERELA+)  in partnership with Christian Aid UK, Nigeria on Monday in Makurdi.

The retreat has “Exploring Opportunities in Faith Community for Promoting Universal Health Coverage through Religious Leaders’ led Advocacies and Interventions” as its theme.

Egwu described the retreat as a peer review forum for leaderships of various faith structures where best practices were shared.

He urged participants to use the opportunity to sensitise faith community health insurance within the provisions of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the State Health Insurance Scheme.

He also emphasised the importance of partnerships between faith actors, the government and development partners in mitigating gaps in access to quality health, particularly for vulnerable groups and informal sectors left behind.

The executive secretary acknowledged that congregations could organise themselves to access opportunities in community health insurance packages in the health insurance system, particularly in Benue.

Ms. Amber Erinmwinhethe, the National Coordinator of NINERELA+, explained that the group and Christian Aid UK, Nigeria, was ready to ensure that congregations were strengthened to address some health and social justice issues.

According to her, the organisation engages faith communities to pursue transformational roles in key development areas because such communities are closer to the people and can feel their pains more.

Mr Ikenna Nwakanma, the Programme Manager of NINERELA+, reiterated the commitment of the organisation to continually advocate that religious leaders act and amplify the voices of the community against the vulnerabilities, injustices and inequalities.

Nwakanma urged the retreat participants to rise against the challenge of inhuman activities.

According to him, if every congregation commits to providing health coverage for just 20 indigent persons, Universal Health Coverage will be achieved by 2030.


– Jan. 28, 2020 @ 09:35 GMT |

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