By Gabriel Ewepu
WITH the deteriorated healthcare facilities across the country and poor access to quality healthcare delivery services coupled with low morale of medical personnel and brain drain in the health sector, a healthcare giant, PharmAccess Foundation, the European Union, EU, National Assembly and other stakeholders called for increased funding for Nigeria’s health sector towards effective and sustainable healthcare delivery service to citizens.
The call was made at the 4th Annual Legislative Summit on Health in Abuja, held from Sunday May 23 to Tuesday May 25, 2021, with theme, ‘Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Health Security (HS): Two Sides of a Coin for an Efficient Health System, and had in attendance the Vice President of Nigeria, National Assembly members, United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), Nigeria Healthwatch, and others.
Essence of the Summit was to propose laws that will effectively leverage statutory functions of the legislature in Nigeria for improved health financing, toward effective and efficient utilization of resources for Universal Health Coverage.
In a remark, the Country Director, PharmAccess Foundation, Njide Ndili, emphasized importance of digital innovations that improve accessibility, and how leveraging technology would aggregate funding and local resource mobilization, and also build capacity of regulators in the sector.
Ndili said: “Without government commitment to funding healthcare, achieving UHC by 2030 will be impossible.”
However, she expressed delight that government and relevant stakeholders on same table to strategize and synergize towards galvanizing the healthcare sector.
The representative of the European Union, EU, to Nigeria, Alexander Gomez, stressed the importance of Nigeria collaborating with the World Health Organisation, WHO, and the international community on projects that will promote comprehensive health reforms.
Also, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Yahaya Ibrahim Olorigbe, called on the federal government to implement its promise to allocate 15 per cent of the national budget to the health sector in order to improve healthcare delivery service to Nigerians.
According to Olorigbe, the Summit is to amend and strengthen necessary legal frameworks on healthcare so as to bring about quality, equitable and affordable basic minimum healthcare package for all Nigerians.
He said: “The demand of the sector from the government, both at the federal and state level, is what was agreed in Abuja in 2001. That is at least 15 per cent of the national budget was agreed to be allocated to the health sector however since then, we have not achieved that. That is simply what we are asking for.”
In a remark by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said the attainment of the universal healthcare coverage is one of government’s top priorities.
Mamora said: “This administration is committed to the achievement of universal health coverage to provide a richer basic minimum of package of health services to meet common healthcare needs of all citizens.”