President Muhammadu Buhari launched the second National Strategic Health Development Plan from 2018-2022 to attain the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria. He also unveiled the first phase of the N55 billion Basic Health Care Provision Fund in six states of the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Also, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has promised to mobilize N2billion from the private sector to support the healthcare fund. Meanwhile, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has also donated $ 1.5 million to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund account and also pledged to commit additional $75 million into the account in the next five years.
Speaking at the event in Abuja, Buhari expressed his commitment to fulfilling all his campaign promises, noting that the second National Strategic Health Development Plan, which was approved by FEC in September, was part of plans to achieve the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
He noted that government in recognition of the need to invest in the people provided N55 billion from the one percent Consolidated Revenue Fund for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
This, he, said was in fulfillment of the provisions of the National Health Act 2014, adding that the implementation would focus more on the people living in the rural areas like children under five years, as well as women and the elderly. He lamented that out of pocket payment for health constitute over 70 percent of total health expenditure in Nigeria. He expressed concern that functioning primary healthcare system and a mandatory healthcare insurance scheme is critical to attaining the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
The president said the brand name for the project is “Huwe” meaning life, stressing that the government would provide quality affordable healthcare to the citizens. He said the provision would be devoid of financial hardship to provide succor to the poor and improve the health indices of the country. He also stressed that very strict accountability and transparency mechanism has been put in place to ensure that there is no corruption in the disbursement of the fund. He explained that the disbursement was made to high performing states, while other states would access the fund as they fulfill the laid down criteria for accessing the fund.