Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has charged the the three tiers of government to as a matter of priority fund the second national strategic health development plan (NSHDPII).
The move, it noted would help ensure accountability in its implementation in order to achieve universal health coverage in Nigeria.
PACaH@SCALE Project in collaboration with the CSOs, while making the call in Abuja, commended the efforts of the federal government, the state and the local government in the country for investing in the health sector despite the competing challenges for resources from other sectors.
Speaking, shortly after a two-day press conference in Abuja to mark the 2018 international universal Health coverage day which is commemorated every 12th of December worldwide, Barr. Ayo Adebusoye, noted that Universal health coverage means that all Nigerians get quality health services where and when needed without suffering financial hardship.
According to him, “Prior to the global global movement of UHC, Nigeria developed health policies and structure such as the first national strategic health development plan (NSHDP – I) and the national health insurance scheme ( NHIS) to increase access to health care, but despite this structure, the country was unable to achieve the objective of ensuring that every citizen has access to healthcare.”
Adebusoye, while lamenting that the meagre investment is further compounded by delay or non release of funds appropriated. Stressed that, even when funds are released, their care challenges of utilization and accountability.
“Other lingering barriers to UHC in the country include low political will to adequately fund healthcare, poor governance, miss management of resources and lack of coordination among federal state and local government.”
He said: “The coalition believes that if this barriers at removed, by fully funding, implementing, and ensuring accountability of the NSHDP- II, every Nigerian will access to affordable and quality health care.
According to Nigeria’s National Health Account of 2014, for every 1000 Naira spent on health, about 700 naira is out of pocket expenditure, a situation that is driving millions of Nigeria into poverty and denying them basic healthcare.
Also in 2001, following the Abuja declaration, Nigeria signed signed to commit at least 15% of her annual budget to improve the health sector, but in the last two decades, the highest federal budjetary allocation to health stands at 7%. With such under Investment in healthcare, Nigeria can not achieve universal health coverage.
Lending her voice also, Co-chair, Open Government Partnership, Kano State, Hajiya Halima Ben Umar, noted that the group call to action are that, “All the tiers of government in Nigeria should fund, implement and ensure accountability of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan to achieve UHC.
“That the federal government should release the basic healthcare provision fund in the 2018 health budget without further delay. That, the government should also explore innovative ways of funding the health system in order to achieve UHC. An example of such innovation would be in the production of mobile phone tax that will involve charging one Kobo per second on every outgoing mobile phone call in Nigeria.”
She said: “We believe that the objective of the UHC will be achieved in Nigeria if all tiers of government have the political will to implement recommendations proposed by the coalition.”
“We call on you to continue to contribute your quota, ensuring that you hold the three tiers of government accountable. We especially urge you to continue to press for full funding for the second national strategic health development plan, a plan design to ensure the attainment of the universal health coverage,” Umar said.