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UHC: Governors seek more funding for basic health care

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called for increased funding from the current one per cent to three per cent for the basic health care…

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called for increased funding from the current one per cent to three per cent for the basic health care provision in order to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The forum’s chairman and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said this at a high level forum on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) panel discussion on the “Universal Coverage and the Basic Health Fund” on the sidelines of the just concluded 28th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES).

Tambuwal said increased funding would ensure that more Nigerians have access to health care services and reduce the burden of out-of-pocket expenses for health services.

“On funding, we have advocated at this interactive session that since the Basic Health Provision Fund Act says at least one percent should be allocated annually. We can rely on that provision that says at least increase it to two or three per cent,” he said.

The governor noted that inadequate funding and human resources as well as insecurity are the bane of achieving effective implementation of the Basic Primary Health Care Fund (BPHC) in the country.

“That is another solution to the constraints of funding and then the private sector participation in funding. All partners that are in healthcare should possibly give some funding to the primary health care projects that we are carrying out in all of our states.

“Insecurity demands collective efforts as the Federal Government and states are doing their best to ensure that we stem the tide. So, it’s an ongoing effort.

“We have to work hard to improve the packaging and welfare of our medical personnel at the Federal and state governments for us to arrest the problem and challenge of brain drain in Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking on the proposed state contributory funding for health, Tambuwal said: “We will present it at the next Economic Council meeting, to be presided over by the Vice President, where the Minister of Finance will be in attendance and all the state governors are expected to be in attendance.

“And once we have the consensus of the governors and the NEC, we believe that will come into force,” he said.

Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister, Zainab Ahmed, said a framework had been designed to monitor and ensure accountability in the disbursement and utilization of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) by states and HMOs.

“To insulate the Basic Health Care Fund, we have made provision to put them on the First Line category, which means that consistently, one percent accrued from the Federation Account goes to that fund.

“We want to make sure that what is provided for is used and is used properly. On our part, we have committed to ensuring increased funding for the Health sector. In the 2023 budget, the aggregate budget for the Health sector is eight per cent,” she said.

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