Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has declared his unflinching support for the implementation of all health sector reforms towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the state.
Ganduje, represented by Nasir Gawuna, the Deputy Governor of Kano State, made the pledge at a three-day workshop for all states’ social health insurance agencies on Monday in Kano.
He said the workshop was timely and had come when the Nigerian population was clamouring for access to affordable and qualitative healthcare.
Ganduje said Kano State had commenced the implementation of contributory healthcare scheme over one and a half years ago and had become successful with over 370,000 enrollees accessing healthcare.
“The scheme is currently operating in 245 healthcare facilities, comprising l34 primary healthcare facilities, 37 secondary healthcare facilities and 74 private healthcare facilities.
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“We have provided the legal framework for the scheme, renovated and furnished the Agency’s office accommodation, amounting to N85 million.
“We have also approved a grant of N250 million for the provision of ICT infrastructure and released Nl00 million as a necessary requirement for Kano state,’’ he said.
Ganduje noted that the contributory healthcare scheme population coverage throughout the country had remained low.
He added that this had challenged most states of the federation to domesticate the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) based on their religious beliefs and traditional value system.
The governor, however, said access to affordable healthcare had continued to be a challenge for most households due to the high level of poverty and significant reliance on out-of-pocket expenses.
Ganduje further explained that the participation in the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF), in line with the state’s policy, drove to strengthen the state’s health system.
He said five per cent of the state’s internally-generated revenue and one per cent of the local government areas’ statutory allocation have been dedicated to the health sector under the Kano State Health Trust Fund (KHETFUND).
“The state is considering scaling up its free Maternal and Child Health programme by covering additional vulnerable groups, particularly, pregnant women, children under five and retired civil servants, under the Kano State Contributory Health Scheme.
“These are part of government’s intervention towards a sustainable health system that will drive the process of achieving UHC by ensuring all Kano State residents have access to effective, quality and affordable health care,’’ the governor said.
The Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, while speaking, said the workshop was aimed at aligning State Health Insurance Schemes to the NHIS.
He said this was highly necessary, “because, in the year 2000, Nigeria was ranked 187 out of 191 in performance in health care systems globally”.
Sambo noted that this was not good enough for Nigeria’s image among the comity of nations.
He said the global target of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 became a national momentum generated to confront the challenges.
“One of the viable options was to develop a National Health Bill that would transform the health sector so as to be more responsive to meeting the yearnings and aspiration of the citizens.
“It took more than a decade to get this Bill passed into law, which became the current National Health Act that we are all celebrating today.
“One appealing feature of this Act is the provision, that not less than one per cent consolidated revenue shall be dedicated to the health sector, out of which half of that fund is intended to improve financial access to health care services to the citizens through the National Health Insurance,” the NHIS executive secretary said.
He further stated that the programme had become a reality, adding that many states lagging behind had successfully keyed into the programme.
Sambo said NHIS disbursed the first tranche of N6.5 billion of Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to 15 states and FCT in the last two weeks.
He added that NHIS intends to develop a comprehensive coordination platform between it, states’ agencies, partners and other stakeholders in order to make health insurance the best programme in Nigeria.