The Nigerian Minister of Health, Prof.Isaac Adewole said that putting money in the health sector is not expenditure but an investment that would yield dividends.
The Minister stated this in Abuja today at the National Stakeholders ‘Validation Meeting of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan framework.
He urged stakeholders in the health sector to view spending in health sector as an investment that will yield returns adding that it is high time they changed the narrative.‘’Health is an investment because there is going to be return on investment’’. he said
He also said that there is a sense of urgency for governments at all levels, particularly the state governments to have the political will to place high premium on budget financing for health because over time budget for health was grossly inadequate.
Adewole said: “Health is an investment issue, health is security and above all, health is a human right issue, the right to health should not deny anyone’’.
He explained that the stakeholders meeting was convened to validate the framework that would be used to develop the second National Strategic Health Development Plan(NSHDP), adding that the strategic framework was underpinned by a range of core principles which includes prioritization of activities, high impact interventions, efficiency among others.
He said that the Federal Government is partnering with the State governments to revitalize the Primary Healthcare centres, adding that ailments like Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and others are better treated at the Primary Healthcare level.
He stressed the need for accurate and credible health data which he said is key to health care planning and resource allocation in the health sector noting that most times data is either not credible or not available.
He underscored the importance of transparency and accountability adding that for the state governments to get additional funding, they should give their financial reports.: “We are making it a precondition for you to get another additional funding, you must show us your financial reports’’, he said.
Earlier, Dr,Francis Ukwuije,Senior Health Economist, Department of Health Planning Research and Statistics in his paper presentation titled :’’ National Health Accounts (NHA) 2004-2014 Key Findings and Policy Implications noted that out-of-pocket expenditure as a percentage of Total Health Expenditure(THE) is still high.
He also stressed that for Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage(UHC) at the benchmark of 30-40% ,a greater effort needs to be put into scaling up coverage on insurance , through States Health Insurance Schemes(SHIS).
The health economist said that there is need to appropriately engage the Ministries of Finance and Budget at the federal and states level to increase budget for health.