By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended the President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki for his commitment to the funding of healthcare in Nigeria.
The Director General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusw who gave the commendation, hailed Saraki for pledging that the Senate will include one per cent (1%) of the country’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for primary healthcare in the 2018 Budget consideration.
According to a statement by Olu Onemola, the WHO boss took to his twitter handle @DrTedros to hail Dr Saraki, saying that political will is needed to provide universal healthcare coverage.
Ghebreyesusw wrote “Good news! The President of the Senate of #Nigeria @BukolaSaraki committed to ensure 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund is included in Nigeria’s budget to strengthen primary healthcare. Political will at all levels is needed for #HealthForAll,” the WHO Director General Tweeted to the Senate President’s official handle @SPNigeria.
Good news! The President of the Senate of #Nigeria @BukolaSaraki committed to ensure 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund is included in ‘s budget to strengthen primary healthcare. Political will at all levels is needed for #HealthForAll https://t.co/VcME1yud5C
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) May 3, 2018
Earlier this week, Saraki, in a keynote address delivered at the 58th Annual General & Scientific Conference of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), stated that Universal Healthcare is a promise that he and his colleagues in the National Assembly have made to Nigerians, and it was one that they were also determined to keep.
“As I intimated when the delegation led by the NMA President and the Executive called on me at my office, and as I reiterate now, Primary and Universal Health Care provision is a key legislative agenda for the 8th Senate under my leadership. It is a promise that we have made to Nigerians, and one that we are determined to keep.”
Recall that on June 24th 2017, the Senate President launched the Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage and urged the Federal Government to honour the Abuja Declaration of 2001, while also calling for the full implementation of the National Health Act of 2014, which he helped to formulate in the 7th Senate (2011 to 2015).
At the launch, he said: “There is no better place than here today, to announce that the issue of funding will be attended to in our budgetary review of the 2018 Appropriations Bill.
“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,” the President of the Senate said.
With this move by Saraki, Nigeria’s health expenditure as a proportion of government’s general expenditure – which currently stands at just 4% — is expected to increase significantly, while at the same time reducing the cost of out-of-pocket expenditure of Nigerians for healthcare, which is currently pegged at 73%.