Ekiti State Governor, and Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said the only way through which Nigeria will make little headway in her pursuit for Universal Health Coverage, if issue of poor funding for health and the fragmentation of the health financing arrangements is addressed.
The Governor made the assertion at the ongoing Primary Healthcare Financing Forum, hosted by the Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in partnership with the World Bank, USAID, UK-FCDO, and the BMGF. in Abuja on Wednesday.
Highlighting ways of strengthening the PHCs, Fayemi noted that, to solve the problem of financing for primary health care and meet the demands for a responsive and high-performing health system, the government must approach PHC financing and service delivery with four key focuses in mind.
He listed the point of focus to include, the utilisation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) to finance essential health services, especially for the vulnerable and to improve the country’s capacity to address public health emergencies; consolidate funding to address primary care and essential public health functions; providing an increase in budgetary allocations for healthcare both at the national and State levels; and the exploration of innovative ways to pool funds for non-contributory healthcare coverage.
He also emphasised the varying degrees of effort already taken by a good number of States ro have established their State Health Insurance Schemes and also purchased explicit packages of health services for their citizens.
Fayemi also noted that States are also increasingly taking advantage of the BHCPF programme to expand access to primary health care and service delivery.
“Some States like Ekiti are working with partners to adequately quantify the medium- and long-term costs of providing a Basic Package of Health Services for vulnerable groups to ensure sustainability and evidence-driven financing.”
He however said, for these efforts to achieve population-level outcomes, it is a must to collectively encourage and catalyse them at scale.
“Given this, the Nigerian Governors Forum at the recent launch of the Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge committed to a progressive increase in State-level funding for primary health care through the provision of efficient budgetary allocation that aligns with our annual operational plans.”
He reiterated the NGF’s committed to working with the Federal Government and all partners to achieve our goals for primary healthcare and universal health coverage in Nigeria.
For his part, Commissioners Health and Human Services Yobe State, and Vice Chairman of Health Commissioners ’ Forum, DR Muhammad Lawal Gana in his remarks said the theme of this year’s event “Expanding the frontiers at Sub-National level” and is one of the three activities under a state leadership collaborative of the NHCF designed to share, showcase, highlight state level performance and accountability, and also examine the problems of PHC financing, interrogate how Nigeria can fund Primary Health Care services especially for her poorest and most vulnerable populations towards making other general government investments outside the health sector count.
Accorsing to him, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the need for standard and functional Primary Healthcare at the sub national levels into spotlight, and the PHC is the most promising platform for providing basic essential preventive and promotive health interventions and other public health functions and is widely recognised as a key component of all high-performing health systems as well as an essential foundation of Universal Health Coverage.
He urged participants of the two-day activity packed forum, to take stock of achievements as a country and make definite new commitments to accelerate progress.
“We must review some of the current challenges and lessons learnt from Nigeria’s flagship PHC initiative: BHPCF, domestic resource mobilization for PHC development especially at the subnational level, PHC performance, health insurance functions for PHC in a balanced demand and supply side health system including pooling and strategic purchasing towards achieving UHC in Nigeria.
“We have seen repeatedly that primary health care drives improvements in immunization, communicable and non-communicable diseases, maternal health, and nutrition. Rethinking primary healthcare investments can secure a sustainable and more wholistic development for the Nigerian health sector. We can move the brick by working together to build a safer and healthier Nigeria for all of us.”
The Ekiti State Governor Elect, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, further restate the committment of the state under the leadership of Governor Kayode Fayemi, and assured the development and supporting partners that the state and country as a whole will not relent its efforts, towards ensuring the that Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria is achieved.
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