Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, the Senate Committee Chairman, Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases, has recommended Public Private Partnership (PPP) to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.
Ohuabunwa said this in Abuja on Thursday when the Chairman of the Guild of Medical Directors, Abuja Chapter, presented a special plaque of appreciation for his commitment in advancing the health sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the FCT Guild approached the Senate for intervention as the court case instituted by the guild against AMAC was dismissed.
Ohuabunwa not only accepted this role, but took on the task by sponsoring the motion before the senate in plenary that led to the senate calling a public hearing of all the key stakeholders over the matter.
The guild had complained that multiple taxation has become a huge burden to the private health sector, leading to decreased access to quality healthcare.
He noted that government alone cannot attend to all the healthcare needs of citizens, adding that the private sector needs to fill in the gaps.
“I thank you for deeming it fit to encourage some of us because I believe most Senators and Members of House of Representatives take their positions for granted.
“It is our responsible to do something to alleviate the suffering of the less privileged.
“When charges are put on you, it goes down to the downtrodden because at the end of the day it will be part of the cost that the patient will pay,” he said.
Ohuabunwa said in some countries the private sector is given waivers, saying the guild is not asking for something extraordinary but for basic things to be done.
The chairman said he supported the fight against multiple taxing of private hospitals so as not to discourage members of the guild or private sector from complementing government efforts in providing healthcare services.
“I want to also thank the FCT Minister who heeded the call of the Senate irrespective of the mandate; he made sure your entire request was granted.
“I want to urge you to use this opportunity to help the citizens and people of FCT in terms of healthcare delivery.
“Government cannot completely do everything and it is only the private sector that can assist us.
“I am of the opinion and always in support of funding and even coming into a partnership with the private sector because that is the only way we can correct the health problems in the country.
“More needs should be done in the health sector, adding that the Senate as a body approved the Health Act.
“We captured the Act in 2018 budget, the implementation is on now and we are happy that the executive in 2019 has adopted and put it as the 2019 budget.
“I thank you for the honour of this award, it is one of the good things I have received as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Ohuabunwa said.
Earlier, the Chairperson of the Guild, Dr Chito Nwana, said the private sector which provides about 60 per cent of healthcare in Nigeria had issues of multiple taxation.
Nwana said that some hospitals were closing down, more specialists were leaving and the access to care was getting worse.
She said the Senate hearing led to the setting up of a committee by the Permanent Secretary of FCT to resolve multiple taxation imposed on private hospitals.
“This led to recommendations to remove most of these taxes and levies which was approved by the FCT Minister,” she said.
Nwana said it was a very huge landmark, adding that the Senator had become the forerunner in fighting the imposition of taxes ruining a very crucial health sector.