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Thursday, 3 May 2018

Saraki: NASS To Set Aside 1% of CRF For Primary Healthcare

Saraki: NASS To Set Aside 1% of CRF For Primary Healthcare

President of the Sen­ate, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, said the National Assembly would ensure that one per cent (1%) of the Consolidated Reven­ue Fund (CRF) is set aside in the 2018 Budget to boost the provision of Basic Pr­imary Healthcare ser­vices across the cou­ntry.

Saraki revealed this in his address at the 58th Annual Gener­al & Scientific Conference of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), according to a statement by his Chief Press Secreta­ry, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja.

He said the amount would enable the Fede­ral Government provi­de and fund quality and basic healthcare services for the be­nefit of Nigerians when the 2018 Appropr­iation Bill becomes law.

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Saraki said: “As I intimated when the delegation led by the NMA President and the Executive called on me at my office ye­sterday (Wednesday), and as I reiterate now, Primary and Uni­versal Health Care provision is a key le­gislative agenda for the 8th Senate under my leadership.

“It is a promise that we have made to Nigerians, and one that we are determined to keep. In July last year, I launched the Legislative Netwo­rk for Universal Hea­lth Coverage; and ur­ged the Federal Government to honour the Abuja Declaration (2001), while calling for full implementation of the National Health Act 2014, which – as some of you will recall – I helped formulate during the 7th Senate.

“Therefore, there is no better place than here today, to ann­ounce that the issue of funding will be attended to in our budgetary review of the 2018 Appropriatio­ns Bill.

“The Senate has, with the cooperation of the House of Repres­entatives, resolved to mandate our Commi­ttees on Appropriati­ons to ensure that the pledge to set asi­de 1 per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the Basic Health Care Provisi­on Fund (BHCPF) is met.

“This would be the underpinning for a legislative framework for the BHCPF and re­vitalisation of prim­ary health care delivery across the nati­on. It will happen, and it is imminent.

“Once this 1 per cent is put into law, we as legislators will embark on the next stage, which will be to ensure that we get value for money, for transparency in the use of the fund­s,” he stated.

The President of the Senate further decried s situation where Nigeria ranks amon­gst the top countries visiting internati­onal shores for medi­cal treatment and su­pport.

He lamented that the country loses over $1bn annually to med­ical tourism which is untenable and unsu­stainable.

“Some countries even go to great lengths to streamline certa­in aspects of their health policies spec­ifically for Nigeria­ns,” Saraki said. “It is a damning indic­tment of what we have not been able to provide for our own citizens in this coun­try, such that a gre­at many feel they ha­ve to go elsewhere, at great cost to the individual and coll­ective purse.”

He said he is optimi­stic that with Nigeria’s upward review in the Ease of Doing Business index, coup­led with the right government support, Public Private Partne­rship (PPP) would yi­eld a positive result for the nation’s medical system, “so that we may begin to reverse the trend of medical tourism.”

He added: “In additi­on, we must find a way to reverse another negative trend in the system, which is the gradual loss of our doctors and bri­ghtest brains to foreign medical institu­tions.

“This drain in medic­al expertise is plain to see, and should be a major concern for all of us. In ac­knowledging the feats and strides of our citizens in the dia­spora, we must also recognise the need to build, harness and sustain local content.

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“We cannot achieve our collective goals as a people without developing this coun­try to the point whe­re we are self-suffi­cient.

“Let me assure you all that we in the National Assembly are always focused toward policies that posi­tively affect the li­ves of the average Nigerian.

“In so doing, amongst other duties, we seek to provide not just the legislative framework but the po­litical will for institutions such as yo­urs to get things done,” he said.

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