The Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) has called for a substantial reinvestment of the petroleum subsidy package in the health sector.
The coalition which comprises over 100 civil society organisations and other non-government actors said this in view of the cross-cutting commitment to the removal of petroleum subsidy which last year gulped over 20% of the country’s budget.
Briefing newsmen on Saturday in Abuja, chairperson of the coalition, Chika Offor, said the call was not only because the removal creates an ample fiscal space to achieve the Abuja Declaration of 15% budgetary allocation to the health sector, but because health is one of the few sectors that can provide immediate dividends of productivity for the people and economic growth for the country.
She said the subsidy-to-health reinvestment programme may be implemented through the Vulnerable Group Fund (VGF) provided in the National Health Insurance Act, to provide free health insurance to vulnerable populations and through other pathways such as the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, National Action Plan on Health Security, and primary healthcare revitalisation plan among others.
While commending political parties and candidates for mainstreaming healthcare in their manifestos, she said however that a scientific analysis commissioned by the coalition revealed gaps and suggested policy solutions that are relevant to the health manifestos of all or most of the candidates.
Professor Oladapo A. Ladipo, Chief Executive officer of the Association For Reproductive & Family Health (ARFH) said both health and education are the twin agents of socio-economic growth, improved quality of life, peace and political stability, adding that without prioritising health as a human right, no country would grow.