The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has said that Nigeria lost N176.339bn in four years since 2015 due to the non-implementation of the Section 11 of the National Health Act (NHA) 2014.
The Act provided for allocation of one percent Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
The Lead Director of the CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, said this in Abuja on Friday when he led the centre’s staff and other CSOs including the ONE Campaign and Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) on an advocacy working visit to the Chairman Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases, Senator Mao Arukwe Ohuabunwa.
“With the increasing basic health challenges faced by Nigerians in the urban and rural areas, especially vulnerable groups including pregnant women, children, disabled and the aged, the vote of N39bn in the nation’s budget is grossly insufficient. Since 2015 when the BHCPF should have started, the health sector has lost a total N176.339bn,” Onyekpere said.
He listed the years and loss as N34.190bn in 2015, N38.555bn in 2016, N47.594bn in 2017 and N56.800bn in 2018.
According to him, part of the evidence of the non-implementation of the law include public health spending at 22 percent which is lower than the 36 percent average for lower middle income countries where Nigeria belongs.
He said, “Nigeria spends a paltry 0.6 percent of its GDP on health being $11b per capita as against the recommended $86 per capita. Increasing out of pocket expenditure of 75.2 percent which is the highest in the world, as over 80 percent of Nigerians still pay out of their pocket each time they need to access medical services.
“We also note that over the years, the Federal Government funding to health is majorly concentrated at the secondary and tertiary centres which have become oversubscribed, leading to their inefficiency and ineffectiveness whereas the primary health care centres are abandoned due to lack of proper funding and thus does not meet the health demands of ordinary Nigerians.”
He said the implementation of the BHCPF will boost provision of equipment, infrastructure and personnel to the PHCs.
He therefore among others urged government to increase the overall budget progressively from its current state of 3.95 percent to seven percent, nine percent and 15 percent Abuja declaration in subsequent budgets.
Responding, Senator Ohuabunwa assured that the Senate and the National Assembly is committed to affordable and quality healthcare delivery to Nigerians.
He promised that the one percent CRF for the implementation of the BHCPF would be achieved by at least 50 percent or half in the 2018 Budget and that the target would be full implementation subsequently.
While regretting that Nigeria had to take samples of Lassa fever to Senegal for screening despite the country being the Lion and giant of Africa, he assured of the lawmakers support for the sector.