The National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, Act and replace it with the National Health Insurance Commission Bill to make the healthcare delivery in Nigeria more flexible, accommodating of all citizens.
This call was made during the third National Summit on Legislative Network for Universal Health coverage organized by the National Assembly with the support of development Research and Projects Centre, under the partnership for advocacy in child and family health at scale in Abuja on Thursday.
The President had directed the NIPSS to study the healthcare delivery as the case study for the 2019 Senior Executive Course 41 of the institute with the theme ‘Finding solutions to funding universal healthcare delivery in Nigeria’.
Speaking during the summit, the representative of the institute, Muhammed Gumi, revealed that adequate funding was a critical catalyst for boosting access to quality healthcare to all citizens in the country.
According to him, virtually all the countries visited during the study spend greater proportion of their budget on healthcare, in addition to putting in place effective policy frameworks and institutional mechanisms for utilization and oversight.
Mr Gumi, who is a retire group-captain, said: “It is important to acknowledge the prevailing fiscal environment in Nigeria and competing demands on limited resources at the disposal of the government.
“However, poor budgetary allocation to heath, inadequate and untimely disbursement, absence of risk protection, fragmentation and duplication of funding pools resulting in inequitable access to quality healthcare services leaving the socio-economically disadvantaged and vulnerable groups excluded, and other barriers are weak monitoring and financial tracking mechanisms leading to leakages of resources are some of the challenges we established is bedevilling healthcare delivery in Nigeria,” he said.
Mr Gumi stated that the nation’s healthcare delivery system suffers from non-compliance with the payment of negotiated premium by labour and high Out Of Pocket Expenses, OOPE, that remains at 77.4%.
He added that inadequacy of reliable data compounded by low deployment of ICT in health sector exacerbates the challenge of effective planning and funding of UHCD.
According to him, poor policy coordination, institutional fragmentation, and weak vertical and horizontal synergy across levels off government, MDAs, military and security establishments donors continue to make it difficult for the nation to attain healthy status.
While calling on the President to give serious consideration to convening a special session of the National Council of State to deliberate on the modalities for fast-tracking the attainment of UHCD in Nigeria, NIPSS requested the federal government to consider introducing innovative, efficient, universal, scalable and easily collectible contribution specifically earmarked for health.
“An example is the 1 kobo per second for a maximum of ten minutes per day of all outgoing GSM calls on active mobile phone lines could triple the BHCPF,” Mr Gumi stressed.
Mr Gumi noted that the Federation Account Allocation Committee could be directed to deduct at source state counterpart funding for BHCPF.
“A combination of these will increase the pool of resources to implement the key components of Universal Healthcare coverage in Nigeria,” he stressed.