Expert calls for increased funding of BHCPF to sustain Universal Health Coverage
A public health expert, Dr Ifeoma Uduji, has called for increased
funding of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to achieve and sustain Universal Health
Coverage (UHC) in the country.
The Public Health Services and Policy Specialist made the call in an interview with our correspondent in
Enugu on Monday.
Reports have it that UHC is a healthcare system in which all residents of a particular country or region are assured access
to quality healthcare without suffering financial hardship.
The system also ensures that all people have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without
being pushed into poverty by healthcare costs.
The expert, who recalled that the National Health Act (2014) made provision for the pool fund from federal and state
governments to increase access to public healthcare services to the vulnerable, implemented through the BHCPF,
said the country must strive to achieve equity and equality in healthcare system.
According to her, equity and equality in healthcare means there will be no disparity between the quality of services that
a wealthy man and a vulnerable (poor) person can access in a given health facility.
She said “one way Nigeria can achieve and sustain UHC is to increase the fund allocated to BHCPF.
“Currently, UHC covers only the minimum or essential healthcare services. Services like Cesarean Section (CS) and radiography and
some laboratory services are not covered by the BHCPF.
“In addition, BHCPF only takes care of people attending one health facility per political ward. Therefore, increasing the fund
will increase the number of fully functional healthcare facilities and increase the number of health insurance coverage
in rural areas.
“This will help to achieve sustained and all-reaching UHC in Nigeria.”
The U.S.-trained health professional also stressed the need to ensure accountability at the implementation level, saying
“continuous evidence-based community health needs assessment is necessary to determine the level of access by vulnerable people.
“The assessment should also find out if the system has relieved the people from the financial burden they have been going through while
trying to access healthcare.”