Bayelsa, in search of a sustainable health financing scheme
Background: A sustainable health care financing scheme has been difficult to establish in Bayelsa State. This is evident in the different attempts at fashioning an effective health financing scheme by subsequent governments.
Objectives: This study sought to identify principles that would guide the effective implementation of a health financing scheme.
Method: Methods of health care financing were examined by means of documentary analysis, interviews with programme managers and questionnaire administration to health service users.
Results and analysis: In 2012 budgetary allocation to the State Hospitals Board and the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital were just 0.15% and 0.70% respectively. Before 2000 less than 0.14% of national budget was allocated to patient care. These meagre allocations were because the same source that funds patient care services also funds health research, capital projects and overhead costs of all health agencies.
Conclusion: Although Bayelsa is a developing state, a sustainable health financing scheme will depend on a health system that allows efficiency in programme management, effectiveness of facilities and workforce professionalism. It is therefore suggested that attention should be given to the health system first because it is there that any sustainable scheme will operate in.
Keywords: Healthcare, health financing, health insurance, health policy