On Healthcare Bill By Carl Ndukwe

Since independence, the inability to guarantee affordable and universal healthcare to its citizens has been one of Nigeria’s greatest challenges. Little wonder that we are consistently ranked in the comity of poor nations? In May 2017, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy in partnership with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria organized a symposium in Lagos and a keynote address was delivered by Prof. Eyitayo Lambo, a former Minister of Health and foremost health economist who noted that the constitution makes very scant provision for health while there is hardly any legislation that defines the roles and responsibilities of the three tiers of government, while adding that the National Health Act 2014 has not resolved the problem.

Today, demands on the healthcare systems have increased alarmingly and healthcare organizations are feeling overwhelmed and pressured to provide more timely services while at the same time working with limited human and financial resources. There is an urgent need to strengthen national health systems and improve health outcomes for the citizenry.

Going forward to achieve Universal Healthcare will never be an easy road, but staying on our current path is much worse. This is why we all as Nigerians must follow and actively support the Senate’s resolution, passed last year, to implement the Basic healthcare Provision Fund. At the heart of this resolution is the fundamental principle that to achieve a healthy, and thereby prosperous, society, we need cross-subsidization and solidarity in healthcare, whereby the rich support the poor, the well support the sick and the haves support the haves not. Senate bills, acts and resolutions cannot on their own bring these principles to life, they need the active support and buy-in of the general public.

Carl Ndukwe