Until the governments at all levels, agree with the stipulated 2000 Abuja Declaration, to make the least of their budgetary allocations to health 15 %, there might not be an end in sight, to the recurrent poor health indexes of infant mortality, maternal morbidity, high burden of diseases, inadequate health care services in public and private facilities, et cetera.
This was the unanimous submission of bigwigs in the health care industry, who converged at the FECOT Auditorium of the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi , Lagos, (NOHIL) recently, for the 70th anniversary public lecture, themed:”Efficient health care delivery in the 21st century”.
Speaking on the topic: “National health financing and policy”, professor Akin Osibogun, former CMD, LUTH, said one major task before the federal government is the implementation of universal health coverage, by reducing out-of-pocket health services to the barest minimum in the country.
Osibogun, who was ably represented by Dr. Tochi Okwor, condemned the rate of out-of-pocket health services, which was put at 69% as at last year, emphasized that for as long as there are out-of-pocket payments for accessing health care in the country, then there is no equity in health care provision.
The former LUTH CMD, who agonized over the inadequate government provision on health, over the years, noted that government allocation to health is equivalent to 3.2 % of the total allocation for some years, even to the present, and this has brought a lot of inefficiency to the system.
He therefore called for the rectification of these anomalies in the in the sector, adding that harmonization of external aids and partnership for health care financing, could be means of moving the system forward.
Osibogun also identified lack of implementation of the National Health Act as a challenge in the industry, and urged all health practitioners to insist on the application of the Health Act, in their various units, stating that this will go a long way, in ameliorating some of these challenges in the sector.
In his own contribution, Mr Yinka Sanni, CEO, Stanbic IBTC Bank, further commented on the theme of the anniversary lecture, with a focus on private participation in the health sector and funding. He asserted that since the private sector provides 40 % of the health care delivery to the masses, then they should be empowered financially to provide the best services to the people.
Sanni, who was represented by Mrs Olufunke Amobi, highlighted the challenges of the private health sector to include :lack of coordination, inadequate access to finance; regulations and institutions, advocacy; lack of sustainability, and so on.
To overcome these recurrent bottlenecks in the private health sector, he recommended that there should be sustainability of funding, formulating and implementation of apt policies; advancement in public and private partnership and more donations from donor agencies.
The Medical director, Dr. O.O. Odunubi, during his address, expressed his commitment to staff welfare, stating that he has always ensure that things get better for them, because human resources is the most important resources to any organization.
Odunubi, who frown at frequent industrial actions, embarked upon by workers, which had disrupted the institution’s services in time past, said it’s unfortunate that that is the only weapon labour uses, and it disposes patients trust in them.”Industrial action in medical sector does not help our advocacy and services in any way”.
Among other things the institution is working on, he said the provision of an environment for both rich and poor, and the development of a system for preferential billing system, are imperative for them.
The chairman of the occasion, prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi , cautioned the health workers on their incessant complaint about government’s disposition towards them, adding that should put up more positive orientation, by using what they have to acquire what they need.