The Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria (HCPAN) is crying out against the 76% out-of-pocket payment for healthcare in the country, calling it unacceptable. Punch reports that the association also spoke about Nigeria’s attainment of Universal Health Coverage under such an alarming rate of out-of-pocket expenditure for healthcare. They stated that less than 5% of the country currently rely on health insurance coverage.
Dr. Jimmy Arigbabuwo, the National President of HCPAN, mentioned this while assessing the developments in the Nigerian health sector. This took place during an interview with PUNCH HealthWise.
Dr. Arigbabuwo who is also the National Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association Committee on Public-Private Partnership told Punch that Nigeria’s health sector was encountering various problems such as poor budgetary allocation, brain drain, poor budget performance, and many others.
“The level that we are now, we are working against the Abuja declaration of 2001 when we agreed that 15% of our gross national income should be voted to healthcare. But we have been hovering between three to five per cent. Even at that, what is the performance of our budget? We have been doing less than 50 per cent. So, we missed it by not voting enough money for our health system.” He explained.
He also pointed out that our budget performance was poor, citing our inflationary trend as a problem. He stated that young doctors who struggled to train themselves were leaving the country out of frustration for greener pastures. He stated that even strikes were not helping in resolving issues, citing the ongoing NARD strike which has lasted for 60 days now.
“Out-of-pocket payment for healthcare is at 76 per cent in the country. At 61, our scorecards are not quite good. At 61, Nigeria is still engaging in serious medical tourism. At 61, the healthcare coverage by health insurance is less than five per cent. At 61, life means nothing in Nigeria and we are still crawling,” he said.
He recommended that health insurance should be compulsory, citing that we should have covered 70% to give hope towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“Also, we must increase our budgetary allocation for health to at least 10 percent. And we must discourage medical tourism by establishing regional specialist hospitals,” he recommended.
He also suggested that we should carry out an appraisal for budgetary allocation in order to achieve better budget performance.