The Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take decisive action and utilise the ₦500 billion palliative to provide health insurance coverage to at least 10 million vulnerable households, benefiting approximately 60 million Nigerians.
The chair of HSRC, Mrs. Chika Offor conveyed this imperative message while addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
Tinubu had recently requested the House of Representatives to amend the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Act, allocating ₦500 billion to support palliative measures in response to the impact of fuel subsidy removal.
This significant allocation seeks to draw from the N819,536,937,813 supplementary budget previously submitted to the Legislature by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Offor emphasised that such a strategic move would elevate the health insurance coverage from its current level of 17.8 million (representing 8.5 per cent of the population) to an impressive 77.8 million (equivalent to 37.4 per cent of the population), thereby achieving a remarkable 337 per cent increase in national coverage within a span of just 12 months.
Moreover, she urged the National Assembly (NASS) to actively include Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a priority in their constituency projects, aiming to ensure that no one is left behind.
The HSRC chair recommended that NASS take measures to secure health insurance for their constituents by leveraging the state health insurance schemes, in alignment with President Tinubu’s UHC agenda.
Additionally, Offor called upon the organised private sector to dedicate a portion of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding to health initiatives, specifically contributing to vulnerable group funds as mandated by the National Health Insurance Act (NHIA).
She further advocated for a revision of the National Health Act to relocate the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) funding from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), proposing a two per cent increase in allocation.
Offor explained that the current setup necessitates 25 per cent counterpart funding from states (as CRF comes solely from the Federal Government), a requirement that has faced challenges in implementation, leading to delays and limiting the total available funds.
She asserted that shifting to FAAC allocation would ensure that contributions come from all levels of government, providing greater financial resources to Nigerians without placing an undue burden on the states for counterpart funding.
Additionally, Offor urged Nigerians to familiarise themselves with the contents of the Patient Bill of Rights developed by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH). She emphasised that healthcare facilities should immediately adopt and implement this initiative, which focuses on patient-centred care, protecting patient rights, and fostering a transparent and accountable healthcare system that respects individual needs and preferences.
Furthermore, the coalition said it believes strongly that adequate funding of the health sector will play a pivotal role in addressing the prevailing challenges and disarray within the healthcare delivery services in the country. However, Offor also stressed the importance of reinforcing the accountability process within the health system to ensure effective utilisation of the allocated resources.