The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has stated that for Nigeria to provide Universal Healthcare for all its citizens, its current disjointed healthcare set-up must be urgently reviewed.
Saraki, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, stated this when the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, briefed the leadership of the Senate on the Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Service Providers, a programme of the agency.
He said: “I was a governor in my state for eight years and I have practical experience. If we have these pockets of projects scattered across different programs in the healthcare sector we will not achieve what we are meant to achieve.
“We must have something that is sustainable — something that we are sure will always be maintained, always have provisions for human resources and always have adequate funding. This must be a holistic approach.”
Saraki also challenged the Executive Director and all agencies under the Federal Ministry of Health to come up with a comprehensive programme that integrates all existing healthcare programmes in the country under one umbrella for better coordination and funding.
He said: “The National Assembly will ensure that the health sector gets 1 per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for healthcare. However, right now, I am told that one of the major issues that is coming up is where exactly that money is going to be housed. There must be a clear message on how these funds will be applied.
“What should guide all our decisions and actions and programmes is that every Nigerian deserves universal and affordable healthcare — particularly at the primary healthcare level.
“For a country with our size, our economy, and our kind of GDP, primary healthcare must happen. We have no excuse as a country and as a government that every Nigerian cannot go and get primary healthcare.
“We owe primary healthcare to all Nigerians. Citizens who cannot afford to feed themselves now also have the challenge of trying to pay for primary healthcare. This is unacceptable. We must be able to say that you can worry about anything else, but primary healthcare must not be something that you worry about as a citizen of Nigeria.”
Shuaib also commended the President of the Senate for his leadership in ensuring that 1 per cent of the consolidated revenue fund is appropriated towards primary healthcare in the 2018 budget.
He said: “This is an unprecedented show of leadership that will lead to the provision of basic healthcare to millions of Nigerians. This is something that we have yearned for for several decades. Thank you very much Mr. Senate President.”