Gregory T. Okere
SIR: The increasing cost of running government-owned health institutions coupled with dwindling revenue and next to zero implementation by persons charged with the responsibilities of public health funds/revenues has led various health institutions with formulating strategies to improve the revenue base. More so, the near collapse of the economy has created serious financial stress for all public health institutions. Despite the numerous sources of revenue available to the various health institutions, over 80% funding comes from the annual budget of both the federal and states government. However, the serious decline in the price of oil in recent years has led to a decrease in the funds available for distribution. The need for health institutions to generate adequate revenue from internal sources has, therefore, become a matter of extreme urgency and importance.
Revenue generation is the nucleus and the path to modern development. Thus, poor management of internally generated revenue from health institutions is a serious problem.
It is of a general knowledge that for health institutions to completely admit or recognize a person as their patient, certain preliminary obligations in the form of registration, collection of cards and sometimes deposit of a certain amount of money must have been fulfilled by such a person which certainly would lead to such person parting with some money in favour of the health institution. Also, health institutions, being public institutions for health care delivery, also serve as the revenue generating agencies of government by providing medical, surgical, radiological, pathological, laboratory, haematological consultancy and ambulance services, respectively and such other services related to health issues in exchange for financial payments.
However, the question most time in the mind of the average Nigerian is what do these health institutions do with funds accruing from internally generated revenue since the government and some donor agencies partner to fund healthcare in Nigeria? Research had shown that the internally generated funds (IGF) by most of our health institutions are recycled to meet up with health facilities, equipment and logistics needed to meet up healthcare provision by most health institutions.
It is time for the health minister and the National Council on Health to set up systems to meet the emergency needs of our public health institutions as well as put machinery in place for transparency and accountability of internally generated funds of our public health institutions.
- Gregory T. Okere Esq.
Centre for Social Justice, Abuja.