Nigeria’s National Health Bill was signed into law by the president on December 9, 2014. The Nigerian Senate passed the highly controversial National Health Bill into law following its 3rd reading at the National Assembly.
The aim of the Act is to establish a framework for the Regulation, Development and Management of a National Health System, to set standards for rendering health services in the Federation and other matters concerned therewith
The Act is set to achieve the Universal Health Coverage and meet the Millennium Development Goal ( MDGs) target. The Act also provides for the elimination of quacks from professionalism and provide basic health funds needed by Nigerians
The Act was also enacted for the purpose of providing healthcare insurance to certain class of people who are actually deprived
The Act seeks to help Nigeria reduce maternal and infant mortality rate by 2015. More pregnant women would have access to free delivery services while their children are assured of standard pediatric services in the nation’s health facilities
The Act provides that there would be improved funding of health care services at the grass root so that people don’t have to travel far to access medical services. Through this Act states can also participate in improving health centers through a counterpart fund that would enable them benefit from the consolidated funds
The Act also provides for a cut down on medical tourism which is plaguing the health sector of the country, it states that ailments that can be treated in Nigeria will no longer be referred abroad. The Act has provisions that tackle the vexatious issue of medical tourism and its current negative impact on Nigeria and gross abuse of tax payer’s money on account of the incessant foreign medical trips by political and public office holders by political and public office holders in search of foreign medical attention that can effectively be treated in Nigeria. 800 million dollars is lost to Nigeria annually as a result of these foreign medical trips.
The basic health care provision fund shall be financed from Federal Government Annual Grant of not less than 1% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund and grants by international donor partners. The funds shall be managed by three national entities such as
- The National Health Care Development Agency which will manage 45% of the fund to be disbursed through each state and the FCT Primary Health Care Development Board for the provision of essential drugs, vaccines and consummates
- The National Health Insurance Scheme which will manage 50% of the fund for the of basic minimum package of health facilities
- The Federal Ministry of Health will manage 5% of the fund for the provision of basic minimum package of health facilities.The Act is also for the purpose of providing health care insurance for certain class of people who are actually deprived. The Act also provides that the NHIS would provide health coverage which will cover pregnant women, children who are under five years, the elderly and the physically challenged persons. The Act also provides that part of the funds would be used to train nurses and midwives.
Currently, 28 states and the FCT and their Local Government Areas have established State Primary health care Development Agencies in readiness for the implementation of this Act. The Act is also for the purpose of providing health care insurance for certain class of people who are actually deprived. The Act also provides that the NHIS would provide health coverage which will cover pregnant women, children who are under five years, the elderly and the physically challenged persons. The Act also provides that part of the funds would be used to train nurses and midwives.