Written by Williams ABAH

FG expresses optimism on universal health coverage

The federal government has expressed determination to work with state governments and invest in the health sector and provides quality healthcare services with a view to achieving Universal Health Coverage.  

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known in Abuja, while delivering inaugural lecture to the participants of Senior Executive Course No.41, 2019, National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos Plateau State. 

Adewole stated that the greatest challenge of Nigerian health system was out of pocket expenses which the federal government was exploring other sources of revenue to address. 

 In his words “for us to accelerate progress on Universal Health Coverage, UHC, federal and state governments would need to invest more significantly in health." 

He added that because of limited government and poor health financing, health spending was dominated by out-of-pocket expenditures. 

According to him, spending accounts for about 75 percent of total health expenditure among the highest in the world and 25 percent of households spend more than 10 percent of their household consumption on health, noting that it was a sign that more people were prone to poverty traps if they fall ill. 

Speaking on National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, as an avenue for healthcare service at minimal cost, the minister said the NHIS coverage is predominantly limited to workers in the formal sector. 

He said it was not optimally designed to provide adequate financial risk protection to the poorest and sickest households. 

The minister further explained that another source of concern in health expenditure was that most health spending was at the federal level, even though state and local governments were in charge of primary healthcare services. 

In his words, “according to the latest National Health Accounts, 67 percent, 26 percent, and 7 percent of government health spending took place at the federal, state, and local levels, respectively.

“In 2016, as a result, PHCs frequently lack basic amenities, equipment, and drugs which severely undermining service delivery and efforts to improve health outcomes”. 

While speaking on the federal government efforts to resuscitate the nation’s healthcare system, Adewole said federal government had approved 1 percent consolidated revenue which amounted to N55 billion in 2018 to support the Nigerian health system. 

He added that the programme tagged Basic Health Care Provision Fund, BHCPF, now known as Huwe, has overcome some of the challenges of the existing health financing arrangements. 

He noted that through National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, 50 percent of the fund would be used to scale up access to a minimum package of health services meant to cover 70 percent of the current burden of diseases through accredited public and pprivate providers, adding that 5 percent of the fund would be used to address public health emergencies. 

In his words "through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, 45 percent of funds would be transferred electronically to accounts of selected primary healthcare facilities to improve general supply side readiness to maintain facilities, provide essential drugs, deploy human resources for community outreach and health promotion activities and provide training". 








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