It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you to the third annual health conference organized by the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ).

ANHEJ is a group of professional  journalists from different media houses assigned to cover the health sector.

The annual health conference is part of our deliberate effort to stimulate discussions and come up with workable solutions that will bring the needed improvement in the health sector.

There is no doubt, despite the efforts by the federal government and partners, the Nigeria’s health sector is  still not where it is supposed to be.

Therefore, this conference is aimed at galvanizing suggestions and ideas that will move the sector forward.

This year’s conference is with the theme: Nigeria’s increasing population: Any hope to achieving UHC and SDG3?

As journalists covering the health sector, we are in a better position to tell the story of what is happening with our people, especially in the rural areas in terms of having access to qualitative, affordable and timely healthcare services.

Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can confirm to you that many Nigerians die not because their time have reach, but because they could not access timely medical attention due to the heavy burden of out of pocket payment.

We have therefore, bring a globally renown expert in UHC to xray and dissect the current effort by the government in relation to the attainment of UHC.

At the end of today, we will know exactly where we are as a nation in terms of achieving universal health coverage for our people considering our rapid population growth.

Ladies and gentlemen, our Association is determined to contribute its quota to making the health sector work.

To achieve this, we have decided to work closely with governments at all levels,  agencies, and other partners.

We have, since the inception of our administration few months ago, enjoyed tremendous support from many partners in an effort to providing the right information that will improve the health status of Nigeria.

Within the past few months, some NGOs, specifically, the International Society for Media in Public Health (ISMPH) and Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) have invested huge resources in building the capacity of our members. We are immensely grateful.

I want to, therefore, call on all government agencies, NGOs, CSOs and international organisations to see us as reliable partners they can work with in order to get the needed health information to Nigerians at all levels.

As part of  efforts to motivate and encourage actors in the health sector to continue to work hard for the improvement of the health status of  our people, we have selected very few exceptional Nigerians who have contributed immensely to the development of the health sector over the years for  award.

These are people we have closely worked with over the years, hence, we know their works.

We, therefore, call on the federal government to continue to provide the enabling environment for our medical and health experts to enable them put in their best for the growth of sector.

It is our strong conviction that providing the enabling environment will reduce drastically the current high rate of medical tourism and brain drain in the country.

I want to therefore, thank our partners who supported this conference in one way or the other to enable it hold. We are indeed, grateful.

I want to also thank my colleagues, especially, members of various committees who worked tirelessly to ensure that today is a success.

I  once again welcome you  and wish you a wonderful deliberation.

Thank you for listening.

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