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FG unveils Health Sector Renewal Initiative to attain Universal Health Coverage



The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, says the Federal Government will move Nigeria closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as it unveiled Health Sector Renewal Initiative.

He made the pledge on Tuesday in Abuja during the commemoration of the 2023 UHC Day with the theme “Health for All: Time for Action”.

It was reported that the day, which is marked globally on Dec. 12 every year aims to celebrate the progress towards health for all and raise awareness on the need for strong and resilient health systems in achieving UHC.

Pate said that the Federal Government aims to achieve its mandate by gradually expanding health insurance coverage, ensuring healthy and viable risk pools, through effective governance, an enabling environment for better public and private sector collaboration.

He also said that the Health Sector Renewal Initiative unveiled by President Bola Tinubu, State Governors and other stakeholders was aimed at implementing the National Health System as provided for in the National Health Act.

According to him, the ministry’s strategic blueprint to save lives, reduce physical and financial pain and produce health for all Nigerians is anchored around Nigeria’s progress towards UHC.

He also said that to improve population health outcomes, there must be access to affordable and quality health services.

He added that “it requires effective governance, coordination and collaboration among Federal Government, State Governments, development partners, as well as the citizens and civil society platforms.

“The sector-wide compact is based on collective recognition that health is one of the keys to human capital accumulation.

“Also, a healthy, economically productive population, growing at a sustainable pace, supported by a health system that caters for all is essential to Nigeria’s socioeconomic development.”

Pate said that specifically, the Federal Government was redesigning the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) comprising at least one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, provided by the National Health Act (2014), as the foundational basis of the sector-wide approach.

This, he said, would ensure equitable allocation of resources to the poorest and most disadvantaged populations.

“Specifically, we expect at least 2.5 billion dollars in pooled and non-pooled financing in the period 2024-2026, to be mobilised and channelled to our primary health system.

“This represents contributions from external development partners and the Federal Government, expecting that state governments, where primary health is delivered, will also contribute to the efforts.

“We expect to double the number of fully functional Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) receiving Decentralised Facility Financing for infrastructure upgrades, and operational costs to ensure delivery of high quality essential PHC package.”

This, he said, would start by making the existing 8,809 fully functional PHCs and gradually increase to 17,618 by 2027 in all 36 states and the FCT.

Pate, however, said that the administration recognises the challenges to achieving the nation’s national health objectives, which include constrained governance systems and structures and limited accountability.

He also identified inadequate, inefficient and inequitable healthcare financing, shortage and mal-distribution of human resources for health, limited availability of quality health commodities, insufficient citizens’ and community engagement, poorly coordinated external development assistance.”

The World Health Organisation’s Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, commended Federal Governmen’s commitment to health reforms, demonstrated in the unveiling of the initiative on UHC Day.

He said it was no exaggeration to say that the UHC Day could be a turning point for Nigeria and indeed Africa.

The WHO boss said “the scale of your ambition is a model for other countries and if implemented, will send a powerful message throughout our continent that UHC is possible, it can be done.

“If a country as large and complex as Nigeria can achieve UHC, then anyone can. I am especially pleased to see that all levels of government and all sectors are represented here today.

“You have understood clearly that achieving UHC is not a job for the Ministry of Health alone, it takes the whole of government and whole of society approach starting from scratch.”

According to him, the health renewal compact is a powerful commitment to build on the health achievements Nigeria has recorded in the past.

“Nigeria has many achievements to be proud, interrupting transmission of wild polio virus, managing COVID-19, improving immunisation coverage, expanding health insurance, reducing the burden of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis and responding to multiple disease outbreaks.

“The health renewal compact that we are signing today is a powerful commitment to build on those achievements.”

He, however, said that UHC is a political choice, adding that “it is a choice you are making but it is not a choice that is made just on paper but made in budgets and policy decisions inside and outside the health sector.

“Most of all, it is made by investing in PHCs, which is the most inclusive, equitable, cost effective and efficient path to UHC, and in particular, investing in PHCs means investing in the people who deliver it, the health and care workers who are the backbone of every health system.”

It was reported that WHO’s overview on UHC is that all people should have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

It covers the full continuum of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care across the life course.

Folasade Akpan

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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