Expert calls for increased funding of BHCPF to sustain Universal Health Coverage

By Charles Onyekwere, South-East Correspondent

A public health expert, Dr Ifeoma Uduji, has called for increased funding of Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to achieve and sustain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) ongoing in the country. The UHC is access to health care services at any time without facing financial constraints; thus, the UHC concept is to ensure access to quality healthcare services for everybody, especially vulnerable population groups.

Uduji, who is a specialist in Public Health Services and Policy, made the call while speaking with newsmen on Monday. The expert recalled that the National Health Act (2014) made provision for the pool fund from federal and state governments to increase access to public health care services for the vulnerable. This is implemented through BHCPF fund. She said that the country must strive to achieve equity and equality in the healthcare system by sustaining and expanding the reach and scope of the ongoing UHC programme in the country.

According to her, equity and equality in healthcare system mean that there will be no disparity between the quality of health care services that a wealthy man and a vulnerable (poor) person can access in a given health facility. The Trumpet Gathered

She said: “One way Nigeria can achieve and sustain UHC is to increase the funding allocated to BHCPF fund. Currently, UHC covers only the minimum or essential health care services. Services like caesarean sections and radiography and some laboratory services are not part of the health services that BHCPF funded UHC covers in the country.

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“In addition, BHCPF fund is funding only one health facility per political ward. Therefore, increasing the fund will increase the number of fully functional health care facilities and increase the number of health insurance coverage in rural areas in the country. This will help to achieve a sustainable and all-reaching UHC in Nigeria.

“There is need to ensure accountability at the implementation level. Continuous evidence-based community health needs assessment to determine level of access the vulnerable have to quality health care with no financial burden.”

Uduji, a US-trained health professional, is a seasoned public health professional interested in public health system strengthening, surveillance, epidemiology of infectious diseases and global health as well as maternal and child healthcare.

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