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10th December, 2014

Nigerian President finally signs health bill


Topic
Health Budget Advocacy
Health Care Financing


9 December was a day of celebration for many health advocates and budget activists across Nigeria, including AHBN members. Approval of the National Health Bill by the President, Senate and the Assembly has come at the end of a 10 year-long struggle, and many attribute it to the upcoming general elections in February 2015.
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9 December was a day of celebration for many health advocates and budget activists across Nigeria, including AHBN members.

Approval of the National Health Bill by the President, Senate and the Assembly has come at the end of a 10 year-long struggle, and many attribute it to the upcoming general elections in February 2015. The Act has major implications for public health expenditure, as it mandates the creation of a basic Healthcare Provision Fund. This will be financed through 1% of the proceeds of the Federal Government’s Consolidated Revenue Fund, donor funds, and 25% counterpart funding from states and local governments. 50% of the 1% above will be allocated to the National Health Insurance Scheme to ensure that all Nigerians have access to a minimum package of health services. Furthermore, the bill creates an opportunity for health professionals to participate in the budget drafting process.

The bill comes at a time of mounting pressure for increased domestic health spending across Africa, as called for by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta at the UN General Assembly in September. African countries are being encouraged to set up special funds linked to natural resource revenue or special taxation mechanism in order to protect and grow health spending.

The implementation of the Act, both from a financing and health care delivery perspective, will require significant monitoring efforts on the part of government watchdogs and ordinary citizens. We think health budget advocates should be paying special attention the following:

  1. Who will be participating in the planning committee that will develop the framework for the NHB implementation.
  2. The composition of the monitoring team for the implementation of the NHB, particularly whether it is multi-sectoral and includes NGOs and Media.
  3. The conduct of a bi-annual review meeting of NHB implementation

Only then can the Act deliver its promised improvements for the health of all Nigerian people.

Approval of the National Health Bill by the President, Senate and the Assembly has come at the end of a 10 year-long struggle