As Nigeria continues its pursuit of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030, the spotlight turns to the efficient utilization of healthcare resources.
Options Nigeria, an organization with a history of engagement across 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory, has urge government at all levels to enhance funding strategies and streamline allocation practices.
While WHO guidelines suggest that health expenses should range between 30 to 40 percent of a person’s income, Nigeria’s reality paints a more concerning picture with a burden exceeding 70 percent. To ensure equitable access to quality healthcare without overwhelming costs, the efficient utilization of resources becomes paramount.
A landmark commitment was made in the 2001 Abuja Declaration, where Heads of States, including Nigeria, pledged a 15 percent budget allocation to the health sector. However, the present allocation remains far from this mark, hovering at a meager 6 percent.
Dr. Ufuoma Festus Omo-Obi, Regional Director of Options Nigeria, conveyed these concerns during a press briefing in Abuja. The organization, marking its 30th anniversary, is convening a health conference on September 6th to gather stakeholders and deliberate on strategies to advance UHC in Nigeria.
Dr. Omo-Obi noted, “Several Nigerian states have surpassed the 15 percent benchmark for health budget allocation in recent years. While these efforts face challenges in continuity, the disparity with the Federal Government’s allocation, just exceeding 7 percent, is notable.”
He emphasized the importance of translating ambitious goals—like fortifying Primary Health Care (PHC) and extending state health insurance—into tangible investments to drive progress.
Dr. John Onyeokoro, former Executive Secretary of Imo State Health Insurance Agency, called attention to the need for commitment to international pledges.
“The 2001 Abuja Declaration was a commitment to allocate 15 percent of budgets to health. Nigeria’s actual allocation has rarely surpassed 6 percent since then.”
He also advocated for coordinated coordination of donor contributions, emphasizing that despite substantial external funding, proper alignment is crucial for impactful outcomes.