The wife of the Nigeria’s President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has urged African leaders to facilitate private sector investment in health to ensure improved healthcare delivery among adolescent girls on the continent.
She made the appeal at the just concluded 19th General Assembly meeting of the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) held at African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
A statement by her Director of Information, Mr. Suleiman Haruna, on Wednesday in Abuja said the theme of the event was, ”Building on 15 years of engagement to harness the demographic dividend of Africa through promoting the needs of adolescents and their access to youth-friendly health services”.
Aisha said that due to the enormity of health challenges facing the continent, governments alone could not effectively tackle these challenges, hence the need to engage private sector.
She raised key areas of intervention by wives of African Presidents to include advocacy for the review of obnoxious policies, raising awareness on important areas of intervention and encouraging investment on women.
She said that investing in women has dual impact of positive health outcomes and economic empowerment for their self-reliance.
Therefore, she called for extraordinary actions and innovative partnerships to ensure their realization as embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
She said that, due to the emergence of new diseases and other health related humanitarian emergencies of the 21st century, there was a need to complement governments’ efforts towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“Universal health coverage provides more than enough justification for greater involvement of the private sector in both delivery and financing of health care services,” she said.
Aisha narrated her experience through her pet project the ” Future Assured” initiative, which she encouraged other members to emulate in their countries due to its impact.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Future Assured initiative of Mrs Aisha Buhari, is, primarily, providing humanitarian assistance in the areas of healthcare delivery for most killer diseases for women and children.
The initiative provides nutritional programme for pregnant women and the “Get Involved initiative’’, which raised half a million dollars in essential nutritional materials for malnourished children, including those in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
She said that the interventions succeeded due to the involvement of the private sector.
In her welcome address, the newly-elected President of OAFLA and wife of the President of Ethiopia, Mrs Roman Tesfaye, said harnessing the demographic dividend of Africa was crucial to economic transformation.