…Applauds debut of Media network for UHC
By Hassan Zaggi
Members of both states and federal legislatures under the umbrella of Legislative Network for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) have vowed to strengthen mechanism to monitor the progress of UHC with process, output and outcome level indicators at all levels of governance in the country.
This is contained in a communiqué at the end of the Second Annual Legislative Summit on UHC and Nutrition with the theme: The Role of Law Makers in the Implementation of 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund and Preparation for the Mandatory Contribution of Nigerians to Health Insurance, in a Abuja, recently.
The group vowed to hold relevant ministries departments and agencies accountable towards effective and efficient implementation of UHC related policies.
Some of the policies, the group noted, include Health Financing, Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR), PHC Revitalization for UHC, Human Resource, Service Delivery (Drug and Commodity) and Nutrition policies structure and guidelines and other policy thrusts.
It also vowed to ensure that UHC is included in the political agenda of Nigeria and is captured in the in manifestos of all registered political parties as sustainable movement.
The objective of the second Summit, according to the communiqué, is to undertake a critical review of the commitment made at the first summit on the issue of UHC and identify actions that will be required to strengthen the statutory functions of the National and State Assemblies, for the improvement of health financing and advancement of UHC.
The group, however, applauded the integration of the Media support group such as Media Network for UHC as a partner to ensure accurate information and buy-in of the community at large and vowed to collaborate with advocacy groups working at national and state levels to interface towards effective implementation of UHC.
The lawmakers in the communiqué further reiterated their commitment to intensify efforts for oversight on UHC related policy reforms including domestic resource mobilization, mandatoryinsurance scheme, PHCOUR, PHC revitalization for UHC, performance-based financing and other policy thrusts.
It also vowed to: “accelerate efforts in the implementation of the recent financial autonomy law for states legislatures with a view to strengthening oversight mechanism on UHC; strengthen the performance framework to track legislative efforts at actualizing UHC; the state Houses of Assembly will provide coordination support for the Legislative network for each geo-political zone viz: South West – Ogun State, North Central – Kwara, North West – Sokoto, North East – Bauchi, South South – Cross River and South East – Abia State.”
The group also committed to provide support to States that have not passed appropriate health legislations and legal frameworks that mandate universal healthcare at all levels e.g. laws establishing State Health Insurance/Contributory Schemes and ensure the inclusion of key clauses that guarantee financial risk protection, equity and improved access to quality services.
On appropriation, the lawmakers recall and reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to the Abuja declaration of 2001 which recommends the allocation of at least 15% of government budgets to the health sector and pledge to comply by providing increased health sector funding and ensuring at least 70% budget performance.
It also vowed to: “Ensure the preservation of all earmarked funding for health e.g. at least 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the BHCPF be listed under the Statutory Transfers.”
Reacting to nutrition challenge in the country, the lawmakers noted that: “We consider nutrition as a common challenge to be highlighted as a part of UHC.
“To this end, we further resolve to continue to work towards the success of the Legislative Network on UHC and take all the necessary measures within our legislative mandate to ensure Nigeria makes significant progress towards UHC and Nutrition.
“We will work closely with the Executive arms of government to ensure every Nigerian can obtain essential health services at high quality without encountering financial catastrophe.”
The summit was convened by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr OlanrewajuTejuoso, the Chairman Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa and the Chairman House Committee on Health Services, Chike John Okafor, represented by Deputy Chairman, Usman Muhammed.