Lawmakers advocate more financial commitment to healthcare


Lawmakers in the health sector say they have begun a review of the country’s health sector with a view to strengthening it with requisite laws following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislators say the Nigerian healthcare system has been tested and tried by the emerging pandemic as well as the financial setbacks in the country, making it expedient to seek solutions from the angle of law and implementation.

The lawmakers made the assertions at the Annual Legislative Summit on Health, which focused on Universal Health Coverage and Health Security.

They explained that the National Assembly is amending laws to ensure that the health sector serves the nation as it should.

In his presentation, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Yahaya Oloriegbe, said to ensure that achievements recorded in the sector are not eroded, lawmakers from the states and national level came together to dialogue on health security.

He said the legislators were worried by the weak financial commitment of the government in the health sector, the poor implementation of healthcare laws.

“We have to ensure that all health needs of people are met with sufficient quality without leading to financial hardship”.

‘‘There is need to engage lawmakers across the nation on the NHIS, discuss maternal mortality rates, the nations’ health indices as well as government’s health expenditure.

He explained that legislators in the health sector need to continuously interact and make decisions concerning healthcare to avert a further decline of the nation’s health indices.

‘‘The overall objective of the Legislative Network was to effectively leverage statutory functions of the Legislature in Nigeria for improved health financing, toward effective and efficient utilization of the resources, he said’’.

Currently, over 80% of Nigerians procure healthcare out of pocket, a situation Dr Tanko Sununu, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on healthcare says is not good for the country.

He explained that the out of pocket health expenditure by Nigerians remain contrary to the concept of Universal Health Coverage, which is why lawmakers established the Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage to create an umbrella body where solutions can be developed through laws.

‘‘The Act that establishes the National Health Insurance Scheme has been amended to afford Nigerians the opportunity to benefit from health insurance.

‘‘NASS has also amended the law establishing the NPHDA to ensure that healthcare services are improved in the grassroots, he said
He said the needed solution cannot happen except the government matches words with action.

‘‘In this case, the implementation of the 1% consolidated revenue as agreed by African countries in Abuja years ago, because up till now, Nigeria does not allocate a quarter of that to healthcare. That needs to be achieved as even lesser countries already do so

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