Federal Government has assured Nigerians of its determination to achieve Universal Health Coverage. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole made this known while speaking at the Healthcare Policy Dialogue with a theme:The Journey to Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria organized by the Federal Ministry of Health, This day Newspapers and other partners.
The Minister said that Universal Health Coverage is a journey begun by the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide healthcare services to all Nigerians at affordable cost anytime and anywhere.
He said the National Health Act 2014 set aside 1% consolidated Revenue for the health sector and consequently laid the foundation for Nigeria towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
Adewole said that Basic Healthcare Provision Funds (BHCPF) is an intervention fund aimed at expanding the scope of healthcare service delivery not to replace health budget allocation in the states.
The Minister announced that the BHCPF will henceforth be known as “Huwe” an Ibira language which means LIFE.
He said “I want to state clearly, that Huwe is complementary to existing efforts at the states and local governments to mobilize resources for health. It should in no way be seen as an excuse for States to underfund or deprioritize funding for health”
The Minister said the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund would ensure that monies are disbursed, managed and accounted for in a transparent manner, will ensure funds flow from source to service delivery points and increase service utilization and health workers.
Adewole observed that State Governments, Development Partners and private stakeholders had increased their commitment towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, therefore the Federal Government is optimistic that the dream would be achieved.
In his remarks, the World Health Organization Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the most important step for achieving Universal Health Coverage is political commitment.
“There are many steps on the road to Universal Health Coverage, but the key is political commitment”
He said there is no single path to UHC, all countries must find their own way in the context of their own social, Political and economic circumstance. However, he said the foundation everywhere must be a strong health system based on primary Healthcare with emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion.
“Strong health system does not only provide the best health outcome they are also the best defense against outbreak and other emergencies”, he said.
He commended the Nigerian government for showing political commitment by organizing Universal Health Coverage summit in 2014, approving the National Health Act 2014 and the current efforts to reach 100 million Nigerians with basic package of primary healthcare services.
In his closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health Mr. Clement Uwaifo represented by the Director, Health Planning Research and Statistics, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, appreciated all partners for their support towards improving health system in Nigeria.