(By Kemi Yesufu – ABUJA)
National President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Mike Ogirima, has identified out of pocket expenditure on health care as a major cause of increasing poverty among rural dwellers.
Ogirima who spoke in Abuja during the opening ceremony of Physicians Week 2016, said it has become necessary for the Federal Government to implement the National Health Act 2014 as it is critical to achieving universal health coverage. The Act provides that not less than one per cent from the consolidated revenue fund be allocated for provision basic health care services.
The NMA president noted that the non implementation of the Act for two years had led to fears that government may not implement the law soon.
“You will agree with me that at a time like this when money is difficult to come by, out of pocket expenditure for health services by individuals at the point of service become a great challenge. Unfortunately, over 70% of health care expenditure in this country is borne out of pocket.
“Non-implementation of the National Health Act 2014, which provides for not less than one percent consolidated revenue fund as basic health care provision fund has further worsened the travail of the health sector particularly at the grassroot, where the greater burden of the disease resides. It has also added to the financial burden of the citizens in their quest to seek quality health care which in most cases is non-existent.”