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Poor fund management impedes healthcare delivery in Nigeria – Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says a critical factor threatening quality healthcare delivery and attainment of Universal health coverage (UHC) in Nigeria is poor and inefficient management of available funds at all levels of government.

Jeremie Zoungrana, country director of the foundation said the problem facing Nigeria’s health sector was not necessarily the lack of funding, but the poor utilisation of the available resources. According to him, the rural poor and citizens in communities often do not benefit from allocated and disbursed funds.

The country director said this on Tuesday in Abuja during the 27th Nigeria Economic Summit at a session on “Delivering quality healthcare: A people-centred approach “, where panellists bemoaned the poor state of primary healthcare centres across the country.

He added that funds allocated to state and local governments were often inaccessible or difficult to access, further creating inequity for poor population who end up paying heavily from their pockets to access care.

Read Also: Universal health coverage in Nigeria: What else apart from funding is required?

“Disbursement and allocation of health budgets at the state level is very low, management is complicated. We have the challenge of fund management,” he stressed.

Zoungrana further decried that the Nigerian government has not shown the commitment or readiness to prioritise healthcare delivery to citizens. He regretted that Nigeria still allocates only about 6 percent of the GDP to the health sector instead of 15 percent.

He added that Nigeria needs visionary leaders to prioritise the health care of citizens. “Leadership is also important; it is not only about money but the ability to prioritise. We need more Leadership,” he said.

Osagie Ehanire, minister of health regretted that several state governments have neglected the development of primary health care which is supposed to be the most basic point of health care delivery to focus on tertiary health institutions.

The minister however informed that the federal government will soon increase funding to primary health care as soon as the bill to make health insurance mandatory is passed into law.

He said making health insurance mandatory will enable government pol more funding which will be channelled towards revamping all primary health care centres across the country to speed up universal health coverage.

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