Federal govt restates commitment to Universal Health Coverage

Nigeria’s Minister of Health Isaac Folorunso Adewole attends an emergency National Council on Health meeting on the control of Lassa Fever in Abuja

Prof. Isaac Adewole, former Minister of Health

Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health

The Federal Government says it will work closely with state governments towards providing quality healthcare services for the populace with a view to achieving Universal Health Coverage.

Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja by Mrs Boade Akinola, Director Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health.

The minister stated this in Jos, Plateau in a lecture at the Senior Executive Course No. 41 (2019) at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) Kuru, near Jos.

The minister said that the greatest challenge of Nigeria’s health system was out of pocket expenses, which the Federal Government was addressing.

Adewole said: “for us to accelerate progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Federal and State Governments would need to invest more significantly in health.

“Due to limited government and pooled health financing, health spending was dominated by out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures; as a result, OOP spending accounts for about 75 per cent of total health expenditure.“

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

He said it was not designed to provide adequate financial risk protection to the poor and most sick households.

Adewole said that another source of concern in health expenditure was that most health spending was at the federal level even though States and Local Governments were in charge of PHC services.

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According to him, the National Health Accounts report shows that 67 per cent, 26 per cent, and seven per cent of government health spending took place at the Federal, state, and local government levels in 2016.

“As a result of this lopsided spending, PHCs frequently lack basic amenities, equipment, and drugs which severely undermined service delivery and efforts to improve health outcomes,” he said.

The minister said that the Federal Government had approved one per cent consolidated revenue which amounted to N55 billion in 2018 to support the Nigerian Health system.

Adewole said that the programme tagged Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) overcomes some of the challenges of the existing health financing arrangements.

He said BHCPF provided for two gateways, demand and supply-side financing to meet the expected demand for a Basic Minimum Package of Health Service.

The minister said that the programme would focus on the rural population where the majority of poor Nigerians live.

Adewole said that the programme was aimed at ensuring that funds reach front line primary health care facilities.

He added that ‘’the scheme was also aimed at providing greater financial protection to the poorest and sickest households.’’

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