President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the Second National Strategic Health Development Plan that is expected to run from 2018 to 2022.

The health sector plan is targeted at achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria.

At the inauguration event held in Abuja on Tuesday, President Buhari also launched the Universal Healthcare coverage documents and the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund Programme.

The President was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma.

He pledged to fulfil the campaign promises he made to Nigerians in 2015 and described the inauguration of the healthcare programmes as a demonstration of the priority attention his administration accorded the health of Nigerians.

According to him, the Second National Strategic Health Development Plan was approved by the Federal Executive Council on September 5, 2018.He said the Federal Government would continue to encourage competitiveness among the states and FCT in the nation’s key sectors.

"The first phase of the rollout of the basic healthcare provision fund is what we are launching here today in the six states and the FCT.

"All other states would benefit from the fund as they fulfil the laid down criteria for accessing the fund.

"Let me state clearly that providing the policy for affordable healthcare to our citizens is in alignment with the agenda of our great party, the All Progressives Congress.

"We promise to provide succour to the poor at the same time providing for all other segments of the society,” he said.

He described as unacceptable, the situation where out-of-pocket payment for health constituted over 70% of the total health expenditure in Nigeria, saying that his administration was determined to reverse the trend.

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"I’m aware that out-of-pocket payment for health constitutes over 70% of total health expenditure in Nigeria.

“Our vision is to reverse this situation and promote shared prosperity.

“We shall focus more on the people living in the rural areas and the vulnerable population in our society, such as women, children under five years of age and the elderly,” President Buhari told the gathering.

He said that the task would be pursued in collaboration with national and international partners.He identified functioning family healthcare system and a mandatory universal health insurance scheme as the two main factors for achieving universal health coverage in the country.

“It is my hope that with the provision of quality healthcare to our people, our citizens will be healthy and more productive,” the president said.

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