Nigeria launches ambitious health investment initiative for universal health coverage

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By Abujah Racheal

In a significant move towards advancing healthcare accessibility, Nigeria’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has introduced the National Investment Initiative, marking a crucial stride in the pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Professor Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Development, announced the imminent signing of a compact in Abuja on December 12, 2023, involving both Federal and State governments, along with development partners.

Pate emphasised the commitment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to delivering equitable and optimal health outcomes.

The Nigeria Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative (NHSRII) encompasses the Basic Healthcare Provision SWAp and the Nigerian healthcare industrialisation program, designed to address poor population health outcomes and geospatial disparities.

The NHSRII will leverage the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) through a transformative, sector-wide approach program in collaboration with state governments and development partners.

The initiative aims to train additional healthcare professionals and establish over 17,000 functional public Primary Healthcare Centres, aligning with the National Health Act’s objectives.

Dr Muyi Aina, Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), highlighted the importance of strengthening primary healthcare as a crucial step towards a sustainable healthcare system.

He emphasised the agency’s dedication to achieving UHC, ensuring quality healthcare services for all Nigerians without financial strain.

Addressing concerns over delayed payments to health workers under the Expanded Midwives Service Scheme (eMSS), Aina assured that the payment process, including three-month arrears, is underway.

He attributed delays to necessary steps such as documentation verification and orientation, expressing gratitude for health workers’ commitment.

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The National Health Coverage (UHC) Day, observed annually on December 12, serves as a reminder of the imperative for an equitable healthcare system providing financial protection.

This initiative aligns with the United Nations’ endorsement of UHC in 2012, emphasising the importance of accessible and quality healthcare for all. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vincent Obi

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