By Abujah Racheal
The Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to use the ₦500 billion palliative to provide health insurance coverage to at least 10 million vulnerable households (about 60 million Nigerians).
Mrs Chika Offor, the Chair of HSRC, made the call while briefing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Tinubu asked the House of Representatives to amend the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Act to provide N500 billion to fund palliative measures against the impact of fuel subsidy removal.
Tinubu seeks to extract N500 billion from the N819,536,937,813 supplementary budget submitted to the legislature by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Offor, this will take the health insurance coverage from 17.8 million (8.5 per cent of the population) to 77.8 million (37.4 per cent of the population), a 337 per cent increase in national coverage in just 12 months.
She said that the National Assembly (NASS) constituency projects going forward should include Universal Health Coverage (UHC), by prioritising leaving no one behind.
She said that NASS can procure health insurance for their constituents through the State Health Insurance Schemes in line with Mr President’s UHC agenda.
She said that the organised private sector should ring-fence a percentage of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding for health – contribution to vulnerable group funds as enshrined in the National Health Insurance Act (NHIA).
She called for the revision of the National Health Act to move the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), funding from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) and increase it to 2 per cent.
According to her, the current arrangement requires 25 per cent counterpart funding from states (CRF is only from Federal Government) which has not been happening, leading to delays in implementation and limitation of total funds available.
“Movement to FAAC means Federal, States and Local Government Areas (LGAs) are already contributing and more funds will be available to Nigerians without requiring states to provide counterpart funding,” she said.
She also called on Nigerians to acquaint themselves with the content of the Patient Bill of Rights as produced by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) as a demand-side initiative and all healthcare facilities should commence its use without delay.
She, however, added that the Patient Bill of Rights plays a crucial role in promoting patient-centred care, protecting patient rights, and fostering a healthcare system that is transparent, accountable, and respectful of individual needs and preferences.
Meanwhile, she said that the Coalition strongly believes that appropriate funding of the health sector would contribute to solving the intractable and chaotic healthcare delivery services in the country.
She, however, said that the accountability process within the health system must also be consolidated.
Edited by Vincent Obi