Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State says Primary Health Care (PHC) is a key component of all high-performing health systems.

Fayemi said this in Abuja on Wednesday at the State Health Leadership Collaborative forum with theme“ Financing Primary Healthcare in Nigeria.”

He said that PHC was also a pre-requisite for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal three and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Fayemi, who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum said that the theme touch on an issue that was critical to the foundation of sustainable development and the future of health in Nigeria.

“Health financing is a critical building block of the health system that directly affects the functionality of the overall system.

“Until we address the issue of poor funding for health and the fragmentation of the health financing arrangements in Nigeria, Nigeria will make little headway in our pursuit for Universal Health Coverage,’ Fayemi said.

According to him, it is a fact that the right to health is a fundamental human right.

He said that however, the ability of our country to guarantee such 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 in primary healthcare.

“ As we now know, countries with strengthened primary health care systems are better equipped to respond,’’ Fayemi said.

He said in order to solve the problem of financing for PHC care and meet the demands for a responsive and high-performing health system, Nigeria must approach PHC financing.

According to him, the country needed four key focuses for proper service delivery in the country.

He mentioned the four as the utilisation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) to finance essential health services especially for the vulnerable and to improve the country’s capacity to address public health emergencies.

Fayemi said others are consolidate funding to address primary care and essential public health functions and  increase in budgetary allocations for healthcare both at the national and State levels.

“The last is the exploration of innovative ways to pool funds for non-contributory healthcare coverage,’’ he said.

Mr Biodun Oyebanji, Ekiti State Governor-Elect, said that the country could not achieve its goals without the support from the development partners to complement the existing in-country financing mechanisms.

Oyebanji said that the country would also need technical support to strengthen the systems and tools needed to deliver a resilient PHC system.

According to him, Ekiti State having fulfilled the pre-requisites to access the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), has so far drawn down the sum of 282,625,016 naira from the fund.

He said the fund was channelled through the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SPHCDA), the Ekiti State Health Insurance Scheme (EKHIS) and the Ekiti State Ambulance Service (EKSAMS).

Oyebanji said the state had utilised the fund to boost the PHC.

Dr Muhammad Gana, Commissioner Health and Human Services Yobe State said that was one of the three activities under a state leadership collaborative of the Nigeria Health Commissioners (NHCF).

Gana said that the activities were designed to share, showcase, highlight state level performance and accountability and examine the problems of PHC financing.

According to him, the forum will help interrogate how Nigeria can fund PHC services especially for her poorest and most vulnerable populations.

He said that COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the need for standard and functional PHC at the sub national levels into spotlight.

“ PHC is the most promising platform for providing basic essential preventive and promotive health interventions among others,’’ Gana said.

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