Abuja (Sundiata Post) – THE National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently repeal the National Health Insurance, NHIS Act and replace it with the National Health Insurance Commission Bill to make the healthcare delivery in Nigeria more flexible, accommodating of all citizens.
This call was made during the third National Summit on Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage organized by the National Assembly with the support of development Research and Projects Centre, under the Partnership for Advocacy in child and family health in Abuja.
The Institute represented by Group Captain Muhammed Gumi (rtd), disclosed that “It is important to acknowledge the prevailing fiscal environment in Nigeria and competing demands on limited resources at the disposal of the government, however, poor budgetary allocation to health, inadequate and untimely disbursement, absence of risk protection, fragmentation and duplication of funding pools resulting in inequitable access to quality healthcare services leaving the socio-economically disadvantaged and vulnerable groups excluded. Other barriers are weak monitoring and financial tracking mechanisms leading to leakages of resources.”
Air Commodore Gumi further added that the nation’s healthcare delivery system suffers from non-compliance with the payment of negotiated premium by Labour, high out-of-pocket expenses that remains at 77.4 per cent, inadequacy of reliable data compounded by low deployment of ICT in health sector exacerbates the challenge of effective planning and funding of UHCD. Also, poor policy coordination, institutional fragmentation, and weak vertical and horizontal synergy across levels of government, MDAs, military and security establishments, donors continue to make it difficult for the nation to attain healthy status.
While calling the President to give serious consideration to convening a special session of the National Council of State to deliberate on the modalities for fast-tracking the attainment of UHCD in Nigeria, NIPSS requested the federal government to consider introducing innovative, efficient, universal, scalable and easily collectible contribution specifically earmarked for health.
According to the Provost of the College of Medicine, Bayero University, Prof. Ibrahim Yakassai, “When we get our data from the National Communication Commission (NCC), we discovered that 172 million Nigerians make phone calls every day. If you look at the tariffs, the lowest tariff is 11Kobo per seconds, while the highest is 15Kobo per seconds. Therefore we only recommend a minimal charge of one Kobo.
“So, when you add one Kobo and calculate, even if they call for one minute per day in a year, we will be getting over N35 billion to be added to the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).(The Nation).