Concerned by the poor funding of Nigeria’s health sector, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), have continued to insist that allocating 15 per cent of the country’s budget for the health sector is only way to resolving the myriad of challenges in the sector.
Speaking at a media engagement organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, Monday, the Representative of Civil Societies Coalition, Professor Oladapo Ladipo, charged the federal government to implement what is popularly known as the Abuja Declaration.
It would be recalled that in April 2001, heads of state of the African Union countries met in Abuja and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector.
“The ministry of health has done extremely well in terms of policy implementation over the years. The ministry has done extremely well despite the challenges.
“The Federal Government should not relent to implement the Abuja Declaration. Other smaller countries have given their citizens 15 per cent while others even more than that,” Prof. Ladipo stressed.
He also charged the federal government to, as a matter or urgency, implement the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), which he noted will save lives in the country.
Prof. Ladipo noted that the document has a gestational period of 10 and can be delivered in 6 years.
“When we focus on preventing some of the diseases, we will have less work to do in the health sector. We do not have to spend much resources on treatment of diseases.“The National Health Promotion policy will enable all Nigerians to have access to health care services irrespective of their location. We pledge our support to advocate for good health care facilities to the populace. We would ensure that women and children have access to good family planning services.“The health care sector in a country is a means of determining how developed the economy of the country is at a given point in time. If we look at developed economy they always prioritize health. The government is always responsible for health care management. In our country, the approach is different, we need to be proactive.”
Speaking while presenting his score card, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire said: “The BHCPF operates through three gateways – the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee, who all provide sustainable models that ensure access to a generous minimum package of health service to enrollees and ensures equity and financial risk protection for vulnerable populations.
“The revised Guideline for Administration, Disbursement and Monitoring of the BHCPF has been revised and approved by the National Council on Health, to reset implementation processes for better alignment with the National Health Act. The new manual will be presented to the public today.
“National Emergency Medical Services & Ambulance System (NEMSAS). This is the third BHCPF gateway, which addresses a serious weakness in our health system, which makes no provision for physical and financial access to First Aid and healthcare, in case of life threatening emergencies of any type. Some experts estimate that if Nigerians had access to First Aid, Ambulance transport and urgent medical care in emergencies, up to 60% of maternal, Under 5 child and crash related lives could be saved.
“Implementation of the third BHCPF gateway will significantly reduce the incidence of over 30,000 women losing their lives to childbirth-related incidents, and 714,000 Under-5 children lost yearly.”