BY DOYIN OJOSIPE, Abuja
Out of pocket spending on healthcare services is creating huge holes in the few resources of the Masses in Nigeria, the Country Director, PLAN International, Dr Hussaini Abdu has said.
Speaking as Lead Discussant at the Dissemination of the 2016 Federal Health Budget Score Card organised by MamaYe, yesterday in Abuja, the Doctor pointed out that while Nigerians struggle to take care of their health, there isn’t any major investment in the health services.
He also linked out of pocket spending with corrupt practices in the country especially, public offices.
“There is a strong relationship between Nigeria’s out of pocket spend and corruption, Nigerians are spending too much, they pay for virtually every thing even though their income cannot sustain it. They are made to shuttle between two jobs either for immediacy or for the future.
“They engage in out of pocket spending for education, , health, security,, water, electricity, so practically, out of pocket spend on basic necessity.
Abdu further urged the federal government to engage the health insurance system in order to reduce out of pocket spending.
“The coverage, we heard is still around three per cent, practically those who are properly covered in the scheme are those who are formerly employed. Across all the states of the federation, the states operating the scheme are not more than five and that for us is a major issue.
However, the Executive Secretary, Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), Dr Emmanuel Abanida said change in leadership of the country is one major reason for the underdevelopment of the sector, as the culture of continuity of important innovations have been thrown to the winds.
Responding to questions by Journalists at the event, the Country Director, Mamaye, Dr Tunde Segun, said for any country to function well, there is a need for resources and transparency in spending them.
Dr Segun said the need for improvement in the health sector had necessitated the initiation of the score card, which is expected to help the federal government quickly locate where it has done really poor and improve.
“Score card will give you a snap shot, haven assessed the government in four key areas of transparency, budget release, whether it was timely and whether it engaged Nigerians to ensure participation and that is just what we have done today.”
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