The Federal Government is trying to resolve how to meet the threshold stipulated in the National Health Act, NHA, for funding the health sector, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has stated.
The Act provides that one per cent of the consolidated revenue fund be charged to the basic health care provision fund; but government has not agreed on how to realise and disburse the fund.
Mr. Osinbajo on Thursday in Abuja spoke on the debate within government on the issue.
This was at the Nigeria Service Delivery Innovation Challenge Showcase, a platform that focused on models for improving Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) service delivery in Nigeria, particularly in the north-east and underserved areas.
The event was held in support of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman, Every Child, GFF, a key financing platform of the United Nations Secretary – General’s updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health (2016-2030).
The GFF is supported by Every Woman Every Child global movement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Funded by the governments of Norway, Canada and the United States, GFF aims to utilize a set of synergistic approaches to drive smart, scaled and sustainable financing to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths and improve the health and quality of life of women, adolescents and children.
The Vice President spoke at the programme on Nigeria’s commitment to the objectives of the facility and the federal government agenda on health.
Mr. Osinbajo said: “The National Health Act says 1 per cent of consolidated revenue fund should go to health. Although we are still in argument with the health minister about whether that 1 per cent is in aggregation of one of the various intervention of the health sector or just a bullet 1 per cent.
“But the 1 per cent remains an issue as it is clear that we cannot pay for health care from public resources alone.”
The National Health Act seeks to establish a framework for the regulation, development and management of a national health system, to set standards for rendering health services in Nigeria and other matters concerned therewith.
The Act was also enacted for the purpose of providing healthcare insurance to poor Nigerians.
Stressing the need of the government to collaborate more with the private sector, Mr. Osinbajo said that the private sector provides over 60 per cent of the country’s healthcare needs.
“If you look at public sector funding, it is clear that we simply are not doing enough.
“The public sector simply does not have resources not even the efficiency to do the business of development.
“If you look at the health sector value chain, over 60 per cent of healthcare needs are met by the private sector. It is essential for government to encourage private sector collaboration and private capital”, he stated.
The Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, said that the ministry has embraced private sector engagement to leverage on the asset, competencies, and resources of the sector to accelerate improvement in health outcomes.
While commending the roles of the private sector in delivery of basic health services, Mr. Ehanire urge stakeholders and other counterparts to join ranks with government in addressing the challenges of service delivery.
In his remarks, a senior health specialist of the World Bank, Oluwole Odutolu, said that the government of Nigeria has defined a country platform to actively engage all partners, including civil society and the private sector with the aim of mobilizing as well as aligning partnerships for women and children in the country.
He added that the country’s platform was actively working towards fulfilling the requirement for accessing the US$ 40 million that is available to Nigeria from the GFF funds.
Mr. Odutolu however assured that the World Bank was committed to the improvement of the health of every woman, every adolescent and every child.
In his good will message, the executive director finance & strategy, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the bank was committed to the development of the health sector and delighted to partner with the Ministry of Health in transforming the sector.
He said scaling up innovative solutions for efficient health systems through public private partnerships was key to achieving tremendous advancements in the health sector.