The 2018 Budget: ONE Applauds Funding for the National Health Act, Hails the Nigerian People

ABUJA, Nigeria – The 2018 budget appropriation signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 20 is a momentous development in Nigeria’s journey to universal health coverage for all its citizens. The allocation of 1% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) has brought Nigeria closer to fully implementing the 2014 National Health Act (NHA). The NHA provides a legal and policy framework for basic healthcare provision. For the first time since the passage of the NHA, the federal government has committed the necessary resources towards its implementation, with N55.15 billion allocated to fund the BHCPF. The ONE Campaign celebrates this development and calls on the administration to ensure the timely release of the allocation funds to the implementing agencies and effective implementation of the Fund with open contracting practices.

The NHA was conceived in response to Nigeria’s dire health outcomes and was only passed after a decade of campaigning by civil society and the medical community. Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world with 3.2 million infected people. Every day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes Nigeria the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world. These outcomes represent nothing short of a national crisis. The lack of funding for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), a key component of the NHA, has perpetuated these poor health outcomes. The BHCPF is designed to deliver a basic package of health services to all Nigerians through the primary health system. With N55.15 billion now allocated for the BHCPF, the country can finally begin to properly implement the most significant piece of health policy in its recent history.

Serah Makka-Ugbabe, ONE’s Country Director said in a statement released in Abuja: “The passage of the 2018 budget with an allocation of N55.15 billion for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund allows Nigeria to take necessary steps towards curing the crisis in the Nigerian health sector. Primary healthcare centers are the nerve centers for any strong health system. These centers are used by over 80% of Nigerian especially those in the rural areas. Yet only 20% percent of these facilities are functional with qualified human resources and essential equipment, drugs, and supplied. Furthermore, out-of-pocket expenditure represents 72% of individual health spending. This is a major contributor to outcomes like the 58,000 annual HIV infections of infants in Nigeria and the fact that only 30% of Nigeria’s HIV positive citizens have access to the drugs they need. By funding the BHCPF in the 2018 budget, Nigeria has taken a crucial step towards reversing these outcomes. This action by the National Assembly and Mr. President is a major pro-poor policy victory for Nigerians. We now call on President Buhari to dedicate his administration to the full and proper implementation of the Act by releasing funds to the implementing MDAs in a timely manner and ensuring that open contracting practices are followed in the health sector.”

“It is also important to salute the Nigerian people on this victory. This development shows that the united voice of the Nigerian people is a powerful force that is capable of delivering the positive policy changes that can transform this country. Through their collective action, Nigeria stands on the cusp of real, positive transformation in its health sector”

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For more information, please contact Innocent Edache at [email protected] or +234 90 2176 5342