The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said Nigeria needs sustainable efforts in healthcare financing to attain the desired Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The chairman of the forum, Kayode Fayemi, in his keynote address at an inaugural event organized by the Nigerian health commissioners’ forum on financing PHCs in Nigeria, also reaffirmed that equitable access to PHC services was key to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG3) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Fayemi who was represented by the governor of Nasarawa State, Engr Abdullahi Sule maintained that to solve the problem of financing for PHCs and meet the demands for a responsive system, the government must approach PHC financing and service delivery with four key focuses in mind, namely, utilization of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) to finance essential health services, especially for the vulnerable people and to improve capacity to address public health emergencies.

According to him: “We must consolidate funding for PHC services and essential public health functions. Also, we must increase budgetary allocations for healthcare both at the national and state levels, and explore innovative ways to pool funds for non-contributory healthcare coverage.”

“We have also observed that states are also increasingly taking advantage of the BHCPF programme to expand access to PHC services. Health systems are, undoubtedly, driven by financing arrangements, and this includes the number of funds they receive, and how these funds are distributed and utilized to provide equitable access to services.

“Health financing is a critical building block of the health system that directly affects the functionality of the overall system, and until we address the issue of poor funding for health and the fragmentation of the health financing arrangements in Nigeria, we will make little headway in our pursuit for UHC.

“It is a fact that the right to health is a fundamental human right. However, the ability of our country to guarantee this right for all Nigerians has been slow, largely due to how the health system is financed and delivered. This has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which has exposed significant weaknesses in our health sector, especially the PHCs.”

Similarly, the vice chairman of the Health commissioners’ forum, Muhammad Lawan Gana, in his remarks, also explained that the Health commissioners were worried about the poor state of the PHCs in Nigeria which could be linked to poor funding, hence the meeting to chart a new course for the financing of the PHCs.

Gana said that COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for standard and functional PHCs at the sub-national levels into the spotlight. “PHCs is the most promising platform for providing basic essential health interventions and other public health functions, and widely recognized as key component of all high-performing health systems as well as an essential foundation of UHC.

Meanwhile, the Ekiti State governor-elect, Abiodun Oyebanji explained that the Alma-Ata declaration made it clear that primary health care is the pathway to attaining health for all.

“Primary Health Care as we know, emphasises community-based health services that are designed to meet the needs of the people throughout their lives, through prevention, health promotion, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.” He said.



By Kazeem Biriowo,
Nigerian Tribune

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