The second Annual Legislative Summit on Universal Health Coverage and Nutrition is holding in Abuja.
The summit has called on governments at all levels to make the attainment of Universal Health Coverage a reality.
The convener of the summit and chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Olanrewaju Tejuosho, said that the first summit was successful and has brought about changes to the health sector.
“The major achievement of this legislative network is the achievement of the one per cent of the consolidated revenue fund that has been included in the budget for 2018. This is an injection of about fifty five billion to the health sector. And we don’t want it to be business as usual. We have been budgeting for health for years and we still have complaints that we are not really progressing in the health sector. So, we want it to be different this time around. We want it to make sure there’s proper accountability. We want to make sure that the oversight functions of the leglistor is well achieved. So, we are trying to educate ourselves from the federal to the state levels to ensure that we have the synergy and we have a kind of corporation to ensure that all the primary health centres, the secondary hospitals that are going to benefit from this one per cent actually have it to quickly use,” he said.
He said that the most important thing was for the money to be appropriated while working on the process to make it statutory.
The health committee chairman also noted that the committee would ensure the release of the budget.
“The release we have to keep on the advocacy that this is very crusial to the health sector in Nigerians towards moving to the next level in the health sector. We have to keep talking to the executive to ensure that the release of 100% of the 1% is achieved,” Dr. Tejuosho added.
The Nigeria minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said that health was a key issue under this administration.
He said the focus of the governing APC was that all Nigerians had access to health.
‘Our focus is that all Nigerians, especially the poorest have access to good quality healthcare and that the pregnant ones are able to deliver safely. That we do not have to treat them as if they were disposables. And also to ensure that children outlive age five and that they do not have to develop a second illness when they are ill,” he said.
The minister said Nigeria has not really made much progress in coverage as the poor, the rural dwellers are still not having the necessary health coverage as compared to the rich and those in the urban areas.
He said there was the need to profer a national solution to health care in the country.
The minister however noted that money is not the ultimate in the health sector.
“We need more than money to change the narative in the health sector. We need human resources, we need a new orientation, a new understanding, we need compassion. Money is not all in the health sector. It is important upfront to that we need to tell ourselves if we put all the money in the national budget in the health sector, if we the operators do not change, things would not change,” Professor Adewole noted.
He said there was also the need to strengthen institutions and ensure strict accountability.
The Deputy Governor of Sokoto state, Professor Hafiz Abubakar said that state governments needed to collaborate with the federal government for quick attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
A board member of the National Health Insurance Fund, Dr. Lekan Owenla, blamed lack of accurate data to the challenges in the health sector.
He said that the scheme was the driver to the achievement of universal health coverage.
Development partners at the summit agreed that the Universal Health Coverage was a journey which took its first step through budgeting resources to it which makes Nigeria to be on the verge of achieving success.
The National Coordinator of the Media Network for Universal Health Coverage, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, urged legislators at the conference to reach out to their localities and see how they can improve on healthcare delivery.
The theme of the Second Annual Legislative Summit on Universal Health Coverage, organised by The Legislative for Universal Health Coverage is “The Role of Lawmakers in the Implementation of 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund and Preparation for the Mandatory Contribution of Nigerians to Health Insurance.”