The inaugural lecture of the Francis and Felicia Umenyi Foundation was held on Thursday at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja with guest speakers calling for a review of the Patient Bill Of Rights to accommodate 60% of the vulnerable population.
The topic of the lecture and roundtable — The Peoples’ Right to Quality Healthcare—is an apt memorial for a couple who dedicated their lives to serving humanity.
Speakers at the event called for a healthcare system where access to quality care is not based on privilege, but an important right for everyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion and socio-economic status.
It was an engaging event with enthusiastic participants drawn from the National Assembly, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), FCT Health Insurance Scheme, USAID (IHP), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Nigerian Medical Association.
The forum was interactive and addressed a myriad of problems and solutions to matters connected with creating adequate access to healthcare particularly to ensure that more than 60% of Nigeria’s population who do not have access to healthcare facilities are protected.
The forum of speakers resolved that there was need to review the Patient Bill of Rights to recognize and accommodate the needs of the vulnerable population in the country.
One of the guest speakers and the Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said the Patient Bill of Rights (PBR) is not focused only on quality of care at the facility but also guarantees Nigerians quality healthcare.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, another guest speaker, said no one should get sick and die just because they are poor, or because they cannot access the health services they need.
“The right to health has been central to the Federal government’s identity and mandate. It is at the heart of our priority: universal health coverage. The right to health for all people means that everyone should have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without suffering financial hardship,” he stated.
Among measures to improve access to healthcare proffered at the event include the need to properly market the health insurance schemes, both at national and state levels, through enlightenment programmes to enable private persons and entities participate.
In her contribution, one of the daughters of the late couple , Mrs Uche umenyi Eprahim, said the Foundation was set up in memory of an extraordinary couple who dedicated their lives to lending a hand wherever they found a need.
She said, “We grew up always watching them reach out to people and I always remember that my mum will always put others before herself and it was something that we all grew into.
“When the outreach started, my mum was still alive and she was always excited , so when she passed on it occurred to me that this foundation must be the first thing that I and my siblings would do to keep her legacy going.”