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‘Nigerians Must Take Responsibility in the Implementation of National Health Act’ - News - Nursesarena Forum

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‘Nigerians Must Take Responsibility in the Implementation of National Health Act’ by Idowu Olabode : December 12, 2014, 11:18:35 AM
Given the poor manner of implementing laws and other Acts of Parliament, Nigerians have been called upon to close ranks and join forces with other stakeholders to ensure the full implementation of the newly signed National Health Act by President Goodluck Jonathan.

This formed part of the recommendations by a coalition of non-governmental organisations working on health systems strengthening and accountability on Thursday in Abuja.

The group under the auspices of Health Sector Reform Coalition, observed  that people usually go to sleep when an Act is passed but this time it was creating awareness among Nigerians to rise up to the occasion to see to the fulfillment of the Act.

The group explained that beyond guaranteeing more affordable health services for the nation’s citizenry, the Act would ensure universal health coverage for the nation’s population.

A member of the group, Dr. David Olayemi, stated that it was the first time in the history of Nigeria that the country would have a legal backing for health.

Speaking on the basis that health is under the concurrent list, Olayemi said the Health Act would be saving a lot of money for state governments if they key into it, adding, “When efficiency improves, cost of care drops.”

Executive Secretary, Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), Dr. Muhammed Lecky,  said the president’s action further raises hope that myriads of challenges militating against the sector in the country would be addressed by provisions of the law.

“By this singular act, Mr. President has taken a giant, international best-practice step towards Universal Healthcare Coverage for all Nigerians; assuring and guaranteeing Nigerians’ fundamental human rights to health…

“When the World Health Organisation declared that Nigeria had successfully eradicated the Ebola virus within its borders, there was loud global applause for our accomplishment. However, in the midst of this international loud ovation, very few people noticed a quiet but potentially even greater health milestone…the signing of a National Health Bill by President Goodluck Jonathan, which he has now done.

“The signing of the Health Bill into law is an undeniable legacy for the Goodluck presidency; in rising to the challenges of health inequalities, disparities and social protection for all Nigerians. What the President has done is similar in magnitude, and in fact much more in terms of beneficiaries,to the United states Affordable Care Act…popularly called ‘Obamacare’…just as we now have our own Healthcare Act…as the ‘Goodluckcare.’

“Now that we have the Healthcare Act, we expect that health services for Nigerians would be transformed; as the new health law provides funding from the federal government (with counterpart funding from states and local government) for guaranteed basic minimum health care package for all; children belowthe age of five, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities would receive free health care; the law requires universal acceptance of accident and other emergency cases by all health facilities, both public and private hospitals; the law provides for improved standards and quality of healthcare in our health facilities, it curbs the use of public funds by Nigerian public office holders and civil servants seeking treatment abroad, a popular trend that sees thousands of medical tourists spending millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money overseas.”

The group also argued that signing of the bill “is a plus on the President’s re-election bid,” stressing it was the first time in the history of nation that its health sector would have such a law.The group said further:

“The new health law empowers the Minister of Health to promptly resolve, within a fortnight, any industrial action in the health sector, which is one of the persistent challenges confronting healthcare development in Nigeria; and the also provides for severe punishment and imprisonment for removal of human organs; just as it prohibits reproductive and therapeutic cloning of human kind...and much more.

”Also, there are growing concerns over the inability of some states government to meet with the funding aspect of the Act.

According to the coalition, considering the poor indexes in counterpart funding,  the group will take it upon itself to compel state governments to constantly provide their counterpart funding.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammed, on Thursday expressed satisfaction with the signing of the Health Act by the President.He said:

“This is a landmark for Healthcare Reform in Nigeria. The National Health Act provides for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund to provide access to basic health care services for Nigerians, the first such fund in the history of the country. This will be disbursed as grants to states.

“The Basic Health Care Provision fund shall be financed from: federal government annual grant of not less than one per cent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund. Grants by international donor partners. The fund will be managed by three national entities as follows:The National Primary Health Care Development Agency will manage 45 per cent of the fund to be disbursed through each state and FCT Primary Health Care Development Board for essential drugs, vaccines and consumables (20 per cent); provision and maintenance of facilities, laboratory, equipment and transport (15 per cent); and development of human resources for better healthcare.”
Muhammed contended: “The passage of the Bill is a significant milestone towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all Nigerians. Its passage and assent has been an interestingjourney for all stakeholders in Nigeria’s Health space. We therefore congratulate Mr. President, the Legislature, the Supervising Minister of Health,Civil Society, Private Sector, the media and all other proponents working to improve health outcomes in Nigeria who have been a part of this untiring advocacy for social good in Nigeria.

“We celebrate a major victory for healthcare reformers across Nigeria and internationally but an even greater victory for mothers, children and families especially those who are poor – the renewed hope is that they will now have easier and more frequent access to quality healthcare services.”

Muhammed also pledged that the agency will continually remain focus to its mandate, stressing that, “on our part, weavow our commitment to bring this to bear in the efficient execution of our leadership mandate.”


« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 11:34:32 AM by Idowu Olabode »

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