The chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe has called for innovative ways to fund health at the federal and states levels to cater for the health needs of vulnerable groups in the country.
Dr. Oloriegbe made the call in Abuja, at the stakeholders UHC summit, organized by the UHC 2023 Forum in collaboration with Chatham Global Health, with the theme: ‘Putting Health and Health Security on the Political Front Burner’.
He also expressed the hope that President Muhammadu Buhari would sign the amended National Health Insurance Act bill, 2021 into law.
“The National Assembly transmitted the bill after its passage to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent on April 23, 2020.”
“The President, after critical examination of the bill, raised some fundamental issues which, according to him, required fresh legislative action, the issue is that we created a specific tax, the tax that is taxing one kobo per second of communication bill to fund the vulnerable group.”
For the first time, health Insurance becomes mandatory, for all Nigerians, For the first time if that law is passed, Health Insurance becomes mandatory for the Vulnerable groups,” he added.
In an opening remark, the Chairman, UHC 2023 Forum, Mrs. Moji Makanjuola called on all stakeholders to redouble commitments and deploy resources to ensure UHC was achievable in the country.
“The moment I am fulfilled as a health policy advocate is the day other countries start coming to Nigeria to learn best practices from our health sector – that, indeed, is the true reflection of our potential.”
Mrs. Makanjuola observed that health policy advocates and Civil Society Organisations have not taken advantage of opportunities presented by elections to create a policy window for advancing discussions, engendering health policy thrusts, and securing specific policy commitments from the political class.
“This is partly due to their inability to create a strong coalition to pursue a clear health agenda for an adequate length of time before general elections.”
“The UHC 2023 Forum, seeks to do different things and do things differently by forming a robust alliance that articulates a clear health policy agenda to be adopted by the political parties. “she added.
On his part, the Programme Leader, World Bank Group, Dr. Tekabe Ayalew, Belay, called for innovative and workable ways towards the attainment of UHC.
“If Nigeria must have discussions on UHC, either politically or technically it is important the discussion is grounded on evidence-based, in other to achieve a wider coverage like other countries that have achieved UHC across the world.”