As the world marks the 2017 Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day on Tuesday under the theme “Health for All”, ONE in Nigeria and the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) has described Nigeria’s proposed 2018 public health budget as inadequate response to the country’s myriad of health challenges, calling on the Nigerian government to implement the provisions of its 2014 National Health Act.
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Nigeria’s 2014 National Health Act provides for the establishment of a Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) aimed at guaranteeing equitable access to healthcare for all Nigerians which is to be financed by 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Nigerian federation.
“While the proposed ₦340.45 billion to the Federal Ministry of Health is an increase of 10.4% over approved 2017 health budget, the statutory transfer for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund was not provided,” Serah Makka-Ugbabe, the ONE in Nigeria Country Director said during a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
“Without this basic package of services, Nigerian mothers will continue to die at high rates in childbirth while others die from illnesses like diabetes, and the lack of emergency medical treatment for road traffic injuries.”
Also addressing journalists at the briefing, Mike Egbon of the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) decried the fact that 3 years after the tortuous journey of signing the National Health Act into law, its implementation had remained slow with consistent zero funding commitment for basic healthcare services in the budgets of the succeeding years.
“45% of the BHCPF is to be used by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to procure vaccines and other essential health commodities, 50% goes to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to provide basic coverage for the Nigerian masses while the Federal Ministry of Health will use the remaining 5% for accident and emergency response,” says Egbon.
ONE in Nigeria and HERFON are members of the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), amongst others, they called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to with immediate effect include 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in the 2018 health budget to be able to sufficiently fund basic healthcare services as well as support Nigerian states to also domesticate and implement the 2014 National Health Act.