By Ese Awhotu
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs and other Professional Associations has called on the Federal, states and local governments to fund the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP).
The Co-chair Open Government Partnership, Kano State and Executive Director, Women in Media(WIM), Hajiya Halima Ben Umar mad this call at a press conference in Abuja yesterday.
In a joint statement signed by Hajiya Halima and Barrister Ayo Adebusoye, Secretary- General, Network for Nigeria an NGO, for PACFaH@Scale CSO Coalition, said aside funding, the three tiers of government are also urged to ensure accountability in its implementation in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.
She explained that, “universal health coverage means that all Nigerians get quality health services and when needed without suffering financial hardship.”
Hajiya Halima, added that, “prior to the global movement of UHC, Nigeria developed health policies and structures such as the first National Strategic Health Development Plan(NSHDP-1) and the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) to increase access to healthcare, but despite these structures, the country was unable to achieve the objective of ensuring that every citizen has access to healthcare.”
She explained further that, “According to the National Health Account of 2014, for every N1,000 spent on health, about N700 is out-of-packet expenditure, a situation that is driving millions of Nigerians into poverty and denying them basic healthcare. Also in 2001, following the Abuja declaration, Nigeria signed to commit at least 15% of her annual budget to improve the health sector, but in the last two decades, the highest federal budgetary allocation to health stands at 7%. With such under investment in healthcare, Nigeria cannot achieve Universal Health Coverage.”
She said the meager investment is further compounded by delay in non-release of funds appropriated.
The Coalition expressed belief that if these barriers are removed by fully funding, implementing and ensuring accountability of the NSHDP-II, every Nigerian will have access to affordable and quality healthcare.
The Coalition therefore called on the Federal Government to release the Basic Health Care Provision Fund in the 2018 health budget without further delay and also explore innovative ways of funding the health system in order to achieve UHC.