Senate lauds HP+ achievements in healthcare funding


Olugbenga Salami

Senate has commended Health Policy Plus, HP+, a non-governmental organisation over its innovative policies and support in the health sector which it noted has boosted the nation’s health management and financing through domestic resources.

This was even as the group declared that $662 million can be raised internally for the HIV/AIDs project within five years

Chairman, Senate Committee on Primary Health, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North), who gave the commendation at the “End of Project” event of the organization held in Abuja recently, charged stakeholders in the sector to explore further strategies that can consolidate on the gains of the HP+ project.

Senator Utazi noted in his goodwill message at the event that Nigeria has made remarkable improvements in assessment of healthcare through various reforms in the funding of the sector, adding however, that more still needs to be done.

He said: “Recent major health reforms like the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, which aims to increase resources for health and extend primary healthcare services across the country, represent important new funding sources, as do state-level social health insurance schemes.

“Building on the momentum of its recent health reforms, Nigeria is now exploring ways to integrate HIV and TB care into existing insurance programs

“Expanding sources of funding for achieving coverage is one of the key roles of the USAID Health Policy Plus (HP+) Nigeria and since they launched the project just being concluded now, a lot has been achieved.

“At this juncture, let me congratulate HP+ for all the support services you have rendered to the government and the health agencies in the country.

“However, if it is still possible to design a successor project for the next few years to see how we can drive from the present mileage to the destination of Universal Health Coverage, I urge the concerned stakeholders to explore this.”

Earlier, the Country Director of HP+; Dr Frances Ilika said the group had evolved policies aimed at improving primary healthcare, increasing access to health care through health insurance as well as supporting a very viral policy, the Basic Health Provision Fund.

Ilika, who noted that Nigeria had largely depended on foreign donors especially for key disease areas like HIV/AIDs and malaria, said the group has come to change the narrative as HP+ is determined to raise funds locally to finance the sector.

“Within the next five years, 662 million dollars can be raised for HIV/AIDS financing so we don’t have to depend on donors anymore when you need it.

“That is why health policy plus has provided support to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA to develop a five year Domestic Resource Mobilisation Sustainability Plan.

“If this policy is fully implemented; if we implement it across all the states, we can begin to talk about owning our own HIV control and all other high burden disease control and beginning to wean off dependence on donor funding which is not sustainable,” she said.

Also speaking, the Global Project Director Health Policy Plus, Dr. Sunneeta Sharma said that the project was a global project funded by USAID and operating in over 49 countries, including Nigeria as one of the countries that has implemented that project.