By Chioma Umeha
As the National Assembly begins to prepare the 2017 budget, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have demanded the Federal Government to dedicate one per cent of the fiscal plan as consolidated revenue fund to health as it previously promised.
CSOs in Nigeria under the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC), which vigorously advocated the passage of the National Health Act (NHAct), are worried about what they described as the unfavourable signals from the Federal Ministry of Health.
One of the members of the coalition and Country Representative of ONE Campaign, Nigeria, Edwin Ikhuoria, said in Abuja yesterday that the success of the National Health Act (NHAct) could not be guaranteed because of Federal Government funding and counterpart funding requirement from Sates.
Ikhuoria said: “We have reliably gathered that the one per cent of the consolidated revenue fund in Article 11 of the NHAct needed for Basic Health Provision Fund (BHPF) may not make it through the executive budget proposal for 2017 despite all promises and commitments publicly made by the present government.”
He said it took the CSOs 10 years to convince policy makers to pass the act.
He added : “Thus the much-celebrated presidential assent on October 31, 2014. It is two years since the enactment of the act, yet government at all levels has not made much effort o see to the implementation.
Similarly, Country Representative of Champions for Change, Mrs. Theresa Iffa Kaka urged the president to fulfill his promise made to Nigerians, stakeholders and the global community to ensure the full implementation of the NHAct by making sure that the one per cent consolidate revenue fund is put in the 2017 budget.
She said: “It must be stated for all to know that Article 11 of the NHAct, Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, which is to be funded by not less than one per cent of the consolidated revenue fund will be disbursed as follows: 50 per cent – Basic Minimum Health Package (NHIS), 20 per cent-Essential Drugs and Vaccines (NPHCDA), 15 per cent – Laboratory Equipment and Transport (NPHCDA), 10 per cent -Human Resources for Primary Health Care (NPHCDA) and five per cent-Emergency Medical treatment (FMoH).
“This breakdown as captured in the law clearly provides a proper take off of Universal Health Coverage, gives a guideline for funds needed for procurement of essential drugs and vaccines to save the lives of millions of Nigerians who cannot afford health out of pocket.”