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Senate okays increased budgets for primary health care



Senate, on Thursday, resolved to increase budgetary allocation for the management of primary health care, PHC to further boost the purpose for which it was adopted in 1988 by the National Health Policy.
This was sequel to a motion, “The need for increased funding to Primary Health Care  Centres”, by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos Central) and co-sponsored by 106 other lawmakers during plenary.
The upper legislative chamber, among other resolutions, urged the Ministry of Health to create awareness on the benefits of health and life insurance also directed the Ministry of Environment to put in place policy to ensure that every employer of labour has health insurance package for their employees.
While further directing the Ministry of Health to ensure that government-backed health insurance scheme is accessible, it also urged the ministry at federal and state levels to encourage medical technological innovation in primary health facilities.
Presenting the motion, Tinubu said adequate funding of PHC has become imperative, explaining that “it is universally accepted that access to healthcare for all is only possible through prevalence and accessibility of primary health care”.
The lawmaker, who traced the many problems in Nigeria’s health sector to low performance of PHC facilities, quoted the World Health Organisation, WHO’s stance that “primary health care will meet 80-90 % of a person’s health needs over the course of their life”.
She added that the World Bank Service Delivery Indicators Survey, has shown that though available, performance of PHC is hampered by lack of financial resources, Infrastructure deficit, insufficiency or lack of drugs, equipment and vaccines.
While noting that PHC has improved population health in low and middle income countries, she lamented that its failure and belief that it is for lower income earners led to the influx of patients to secondary and tertiary health care facilities.
Tinubu maintained that “until accessible and affordable health care is provided, emergency and non-emergency situations will remain a burden”.

All the senators who contributed, urged all relevant stakeholders in the country to join hands and work towards proper funding of the PHC for accessible, affordable and efficient service delivery to Nigerians.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, stressed the importance of PHC to Nigerians particularly the rural dwellers, noting that the last Assembly acknowledged this by appropriating one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the health centre.

He, however, stressed the need for prudence, transparency, probity and accountability in the way and manner the resources were deployed, so that the purpose of providing additional funds to the health sector would be actualised.

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