PHC Financing: NGF, NHCF Set To Attain Universal Health Coverage

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Health Commissioners of the 36 States in the country under the aegis of the Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum (NHCF) met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, to discuss improved ways of funding public health with a view to ensuring the reality of the Universal Health Coverage by 2030.

This is the thrust of a 2-day event on Financing Primary Health Care in Nigeria: Expanding the Frontiers at the Sub-National on October 5 and 6, 2022.

Improved budgetary allocation to healthcare, particularly focused spending on primary healthcare in particular formed the main agenda at the event.

Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State was represented by his Nasarawa State counterpart, Abdullahi Sule.

Governor Sule said Nigeria should stop looking for donor funds to drive the health sector.

“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 Universal Health Coverage.”

To solve the problem of financing for primary health care and meet the demands for a responsive and high-performing health system, the Governor advised that PHC financing and service delivery must be approached with four key focuses in mind.

“i. 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.

ii. Consolidate funding to address primary care and essential public health functions.

iii. An increase in budgetary allocations for healthcare both at the national and State levels.

iv. The exploration of innovative ways to pool funds for non-contributory healthcare coverage.”

He restated the unflinching resolve of the Governors’ Forum to work in concert with critical Stakeholders in making primary healthcare and universal health coverage possible.

“The NGF remains committed to working with the Federal Government and all partners to achieve our goals for primary healthcare and universal health coverage.

“Our partnership in eradicating Polio, and the inclusion of health-focused presentations in the monthly NGF meeting agenda, are examples of great collaboration, which must be sustained and built upon,” the Governor enthused.

Ekiti State Governor-Elect, Biodun Oyebanji said that the country would also need technical support to strengthen the systems and tools needed to deliver a resilient PHC system.

He further added that Nigeria could not achieve its goals without the support from the development partners to complement the existing in-country financing mechanisms.

“Of course, we cannot do this alone. To achieve our goals, we need support from our development partners to complement the existing in-country financing mechanisms for improved health service delivery.”

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.

Commissioner for Health and Human Services,Yobe State, Muhammad Gana, who gave an overview of the event, said that the activities were designed to share, showcase, highlight state level performance and accountability and examine the problems of PHC financing.

He described the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic as one that 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 explained.

Development partners in the shape of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) highlighted some key measures that need to be employed to reposition the country’s healthcare in the face of poor funding and other challenges.

“PHC is central in ensuring the survival, development and wellbeing of children, adolescents and women. It is an investment for the future and for a prosperous community as a whole.

“Since 1990, the number of children dying before the age of five has almost halved. There has been an important reduction of mortality of under five. Still, 100 children under five out of 1,000 will die before five years old; this is one out of ten.

“Immunisation has improved significantly, but still, inequities persist. The number of children that didn’t receive any single shot of vaccine is still unacceptably high. There are still 2.2 million children that did not receive vaccines in Nigeria – the second highest in the world. Despite progress made, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done,” said Dr. Eduardo Celadis, Chief of Health of UNICEF.

 

 




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