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VP Calls For Robust National Health Insurance

The Vice – President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has called for a robust National Health Insurance Scheme towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.

The Vice – President, made this known at the Nigeria Medical Association’s (NMA) 58TH Annual General and Scientific Conference with Theme: Quality Healthcare Delivery : An Indicator of Good Governance, held in Abuja recently.

According to him, ‘’ a robust national health insurance scheme will be required alongside private sector and donor partnership funding ‘’, the Vice president said.

Prof. Osinbajo further said that ‘’ while public sector investment in the health care must be substantially improved, it is unlikely that it would ever be sufficient. In other words, paying for healthcare from budgets will not be enough to move the ’needle’ in health care funding’’, he added.

He informed that the Present Administration under the leadership of President Muhammed Buhari had paid considerable attention to the Health Sector. He highlighted the Health Intervention in the North- East, the flag –off of Primary Healthcare Center in Kugchioro, Saving One Lives Programme for Result (SOML P for R), Donation of 1.5 Million Dollars to States and FCT, among others.

In his address, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki said the National Assembly would ensure that one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) would be covered in the 2018 appropriation bill to be sign into law.

He said ‘’ the senate has, with the cooperation of the house of Representatives ,resolved to mandate our committees on Appropriations to ensure that the pledge to set aside 1 per cent of the consolidated Revenue Fund for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) is met’’.

He was optimistic that with Nigeria’s upward review in the Ease- of- Doing Business Index, coupled with the right Government support and Public Private Partnership (PPP), would yield a positive result for the nation’s medical system, so that we may begin to reverse the trend of medical tourism’’.

He added ‘’ in addition, we must find a way to reverse another negative trend in the system, which is the gradual loss of our doctors and brightest brains to foreign medical institution.

In his remarks, the former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, who was also Chairman of the opening ceremony, urged the Federal Government to make health budgeting one of the top ten on their agenda, he also added that Nigerians deserved better health facilities to take care of their health needs.

In his address, the Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, assured that the Federal Government would continue to listen to the concerns of workers particularly as it relates to welfare.

Prof. Adewole informed that FG would neither not commit nor accede to requests that could significantly impair the civil service wage bill and affect the country’s fiscal position.

‘’ I therefore use this opportunity to appeal to NMA and indeed all health workers to use their numerical strength, spread, social capital and thought leadership skills to engage colleagues to re- consider the current industrial strike.

To the NMA, we will always work together as we have done in the past.

Let me restate that the gates of the Federal Ministry of Health are open to NMA at any time for cross fertilization of ideas and collaborative partnership in solving various challenges unsettling the health sector. The present administration is open to progressive ideas. I enjoin you all to be partners in progress’’, Prof Adewole appealed.

In his welcome address, the President of NMA, Dr. Mike Ogirima, said that the Association would continue to provide good services to Nigerians at all times, he also lamented the non-implementation of National Health act 2014 despite all advocacy.