Stakeholders seek specialised bank to assist health sector

Some stakeholders in the health sector have advocated for the establishment of a Health Development Bank of Nigeria (specialised bank) to assist in solving the sector’s financial challenge.

The stakeholders which comprise seven state commissioners of health and the state Executive Secretaries of Primary Healthcare Development Agencies and the Federal Capital Territory made the call in Abuja on Thursday.

The call was made at the stakeholders’ planning and review meeting of health system strengthening and access to the right of health in Nigeria, organised by Centre for Social Justice.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the states involved in the meeting include Ekiti, Imo, Nasarawa, Rivers, Bauchi, Adamawa, Sokoto and the FCT, as well as the state’s health insurance agencies, Federal Ministry of Health, and Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

The meeting was organised with the support of the United States Agency for International Development and it was targeted at Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement project.

The Lead Director, CSJ, Mr. Eze Onyekwere, said that the specialised bank was needed to help finance most of the capital projects usually associated with the health sector.

He said most of the equipment, things, and other technological devices used in the health sector were capital intensive, hence the need for a specialised bank.

According to him, if you have to buy all the capital-intensive things and pay commercial bank interest rate, the ordinary Nigerian would have been denied access to basic healthcare.

“We are asking for a specialised health bank that will be funding healthcare like the intervention done for Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and others, so it will be financing health.

“This bank will be financing health equipment and other healthcare financings at single digit rate, as well as meet many other conditions.

“This bank will make health services affordable to the ordinary Nigerians, and not collapse the health sector because the money will be revolving; the health bank will give you the loan and you pay back with a little interest on top.

“The little interest will be made available for the next person who might wish to get such a loan; it will make more healthcare available.

“Whatever money the government brings into the health sector, along with the money from international development institutions will be on the ground for a long period of time.

“This is the idea behind the health development bank. It is a special bank beyond budgetary allocation, beyond health insurance fund, and it will focus on the strategic needs of the health sector,” Onyekwere said.


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