Former Minister of Health, Prof. Eyitayo Lambo has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to allocate 15 per cent of the annual budget to the health sector as stipulated by the Abuja Declaration.
Lambo while delivering a paper at the 1stAnnual PHC Service lecture with a theme: ‘PHC in Nigeria: Realities, Challenges and the way forward,’ also urged the President to strengthen the Primary Health Sector and make National Health Insurance mandatory for all Nigerians.
He said “The Abuja Declaration stipulates that government must spend at least 15 per cent of the budget on health. However, over the years, the maximum we have gotten over the years is just about 7 per cent. Even though this cannot happen overnight, we are charging the president that over the next 8 years, he should jack up the spending on health to 15 per cent.
“Despite all that we have done in the health sector over the years we still have a long way to go, the reason is because we fail to strengthen the primary health care.
“There is no place in the constitution that stipulates that states and local government can legislate on health issues. We want a categorical spelling out of what each tier of government is supposed to do. Make health insurance mandatory. The problem is that the 1999 constitution as amended made the NHIS optional, that Act should be amended.”
Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole also added that the current government will focus on primary health care.
He said “We want the PHC to be the first point of call so that it will be able to offer the basic care that ordinary Nigerians will require. We will pay attention to HIV testing, we will ensure that we can treat malaria and relieve the secondary and tertiary services the burden the currently face.
“There is no need why any Nigerian with minor ailment will go to the teaching hospitals. There is no reason why any Nigeria with diarrhoea will go to teaching hospital and there is no reason why any Nigerian with fever will go to the teaching hospital. We must go back to the basic health care – the Primary health care.”