Legislative network calls for collaboration towards attaining UHC

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The Legislative Network on Universal Health Coverage says it recognizes and commends the efforts of all stakeholders towards increasing Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.

The statement is contained in a communique issued at the end of its third Annual Summit held in Abuja.

It says it equally observed some critical issues affecting achievement of UHC in Nigeria, such as the absence of Health Agenda to guide Legislative Actions towards achieving Universal Health Coverage across the country.

It says some aspects of the guidelines for managing the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHCPF are not in consonance with provisions of the National Health Act.

It also observed that the current level of resources (human, equipment, infrastructure) militate against achievement of UHC in Nigeria.

The communique noted that payment for care at the point of use (whether through explicit policies on user fees or informal payments) causes financial hardship for those that do seek health care.

It says poor compliance to Appropriation Act and weak oversights also militate against UHC in Nigeria.

In view of the above, the group resolved to ensuring finalization and implementation of legislative health agenda at national and state levels towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

“Working with governments, the private sector, development partners, and civil society organizations towards ensuring that every Nigerian is able to access a full-range of health services at all levels. Encouraging all financial risks associated with seeking care are mitigated”.

To achieve these, the Legislative Network on Universal Health Coverage says it commits to amending relevant sections of the National Health Act and ensuring speedy review, passage and assent of National Health Insurance Commission Bill.

It would also ensure the passage of State Health Insurance (SHIS) Bills in states without a health insurance scheme.

The communique also stated that “Ensuring full implementation of legislative health agenda at national and state levels. Ensuring revision of the present BHCPF guidelines to be in consonance with the NHAct. Providing oversight of operations of the NHIS. Providing oversight of operations of tertiary health institutions. Ensuring the BHCPF guidelines reflect the provisions of the Act. Monitoring and evaluating implementation and impact of BHCPF and Ensuring that government and the private sector are accountable would be its major over sights”.

In the area of appropriation, the Legislative Network on Universal Health Coverage noted that it would
ensure increased appropriation to the BHCPF, work towards increasing Health Budget, ensure innovative funding mechanisms to increase funds availability to health and ensure that state health insurance budget is on first line charge.

The three day summit of the Legislative Network on Universal Health Coverage held with the theme “Efficiency and Effectiveness in Nigerian Health Sector: The role of Legislators in Centralised Democracy”, under the chairmanship of Senator Ahmed Lawan, Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

It featured presentations on how to improve the health of Nigerians through the attainment of UHC.

Bilkisu Pai