ABUJA, Nigeria – The 2018 budget appropriation bill passed by the National Assembly is an important step towards securing basic healthcare for all Nigerians. 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. President Buhari should now seize the mantle of leadership on this important development by signing the 2018 budget with the 1% CRF provision for BHCPF and committing his administration to implementing the NHA through open and transparent contracting practices in the health sector.
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 NHA provides for a basic package of health services to all Nigerians. The fact that the NHA has not been implemented since its passage has only perpetuated the country’s poor health outcomes.
In September 2017, ONE along with 30 civil society organizations as part of the Health Sector Reform Coalition, signed an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to make a quantum leap investment into the health sector by allocating at least 1% CRF for the BHCPF in his proposed 2018 budget. Disappointingly, Mr. President responded with a budget that did not contain the allocation for basic health care. In contrast, the National Assembly has responded to years of engagement by civil society, including a February 28, 2018 march by hundreds of Nigerians to the gates of the National Assembly complex, by taking the unprecedented step of passing a budget containing the 1% CRF allocation for the BHCPF. The ball is now back in President Buhari’s court. He has a great opportunity to back his pro-poor rhetoric by investing in the health of the Nigerian people. ONE calls on him to sign the 1% CRF allocation for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund into law.
Serah Makka-Ugbabe, ONE’s Country Director said in a statement released in Abuja: “The crisis in the Nigerian health sector is made even more tragic by the fact that it is exacerbated by a failure to implement existing, constitutionally-backed law in the form of the 2014 National Health Act. The National Assembly has taken the first important step towards reversing this aberration by including the necessary funding for the provision of a basic package of health services to all Nigerians in the 2018 budget. This action clears the way for President Buhari to deliver a major pro-poor policy victory for Nigerians in the 2018 budget. He can either side with the status-quo of needless and preventable death, misery and wasted human potential or side with Nigerians on their demand for a healthcare system that begins to meet their needs. We call on President Buhari to sign a 2018 budget which contains full funding for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund into law without further delay. Nigerians are relying on him and will be watching what action he takes very closely.”
For more information, please contact Innocent Edache at [email protected] or +234 90 2176 5342