Bauchi govt urged to make healthcare services available to all

Samuel Luka, Bauchi

Bauchi state government have been called upon to improve the efficiency of public health spending for better outcomes by using budget resources to reduce financial barriers to health and make services affordable to everyone, including the poor and vulnerable population.

Bauchi State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Child Health (BaSAM), with technical support from USAID funded Integrated Health Program (USAID IHP) made the call during a meeting in Bauchi Thursday.

The meeting called on the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency to ensure regular and adequate provision of intermittent preventive treatment.

It charged the Agency to prioritize awareness creation on the use and availability of modern methods of contraceptives for women of child bearing age to increase FP uptake.

The meeting appealed to the State Government to revisit the challenges around human resource for health with a view to bridging the gaps occasioned by inadequate manpower.

Our correspondent reports that the focus of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is aimed at ensuring people have access to the health care they need without having to go through financial hardship.

Its target is that, by 2030, the initiative will eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths, strengthen resilience to public emergencies, reduce financial hardship linked to illness, and further enhance the foundation for long term economic growth.

Bauchi, Co-Chair of BaSAM, Abu Yusuf who spoke on the successes recorded yesterday, said it was not the first time BaSAM is developing health scorecard in Bauchi State.

According to Abu Yusuf said BaSAM , in continuation of its quest for improved health care services in Bauchi State, would use the Scorecard to advocate for policy change that could be tilted towards attaining UHC in the State and the Nation at large.

He called on the State Government to increase investment in the health sector with a view to addressing some of the gaps identified in the new UHC scorecard.

On his part, a Health Financing Specialist, Pharmacist Khalid Kasimu who said that the state government spending on health is inadequate, observed that Bauchi has an increasing population with over 70 percent living below poverty line.

Pharmacist Kasimu said the financial risk protection data indicates that less than 5 percent of the state population has financial risk protection, which implies that health expenditure is majorly through household out-of-pocket expenses.

Kasimu who said the situation has the potential to push more households into poverty, added that it is imperative for Bauchi Government to ensure timely release of equity funds for the enrollment of poor and vulnerable households into the financial risk protection scheme of the state health contributory scheme.

Earlier in a welcome address, Bauchi State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Sabiu Abdu Gwalabe, commended the efforts of BaSAM and USAID IHP for the giant stride in coming up with the first ever State UHC Scorecard, which he described as reference point for other States to follow.

Represented by Alhaji Sale Idris Giade, a permanent secretary, the commissioner assured that Bauchi government will continue to improve its healthcare system through policy implementation and other programs in the health sector.

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