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How govt can achieve health equity, by CAPPA | The Guardian Nigeria News

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Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has urged the Federal Government to mainstream water access, climate change programming, gender justice, food, and tobacco control policies into health policies to achieve health equity.

The organisation gave the advice in a statement, yesterday, sequel to its webinar to mark the 2024 World Health Day, with the theme, ‘My Health, My Right’.

CAPPA reasoned that health is not a stand-alone issue and that every intervention, as well as policy targeted at health, should consider other cross-cutting issues and sectors.

Executive Director of the pan-African not-for-profit, Akinbode Oluwafemi, explained that the organisation’s programmes were connected to the well-being of humans, adding that “all our campaigns on climate campaigns, tobacco control campaigns, water, food and gender are all linked to health.”

Oluwafemi added that “a win for one of those programmes and campaigns also means a win for health.”

At the webinar, Climate Change Lead at CAPPA, Martins Ogunlade, explained that climate change was causing massive disruption in food systems, increased zoonoses and food, water and vector-borne diseases, and continued to escalate mental health issues.

He recommended that healthcare must be mainstreamed into climate change programming and vice versa. He said: “Government must promote actions that would reduce carbon and methane emissions.

“It must integrate climate risk and implement climate-informed surveillance and response systems, as well as bridge the financing gap for health adaptation and resilience.”

In-country Coordinator, Cardiovascular Health Programme for Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), Joy Amafah, explained that the food environment was being flooded with ultra-processed food, which has limited the options of access to healthier food options.

She stressed the importance of setting salt targets for industrial food products and upwardly reviewing the sugar-sweetened beverage tax, to ensure that Nigerians consume healthier alternatives.

Programme Officer (Water), CAPPA, Sefa Ikpa, who said there cannot be good healthcare without access to clean water, explained that water-related illnesses also worsen the health status of Nigerians, especially in low-income neighbourhoods.

Policy and Research Officer at CAPPA, Zikorah Ibeh, explained that evidence from across the world showed stark disparities in health outcomes and access to care across different genders.

She said: “These disparities are exacerbated by socio-economic factors, including poverty, education and cultural norms, which can significantly impact health outcomes.”

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