Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has revealed that N56 billion out of the N89 billion so far released by the Federal Government to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) has been disbursed to the 36 States and the FCT.
Dr. Ehanire made this known at the 3rd Quarterly Ministerial Oversight Committee Meeting of the BHCPF on Thursday, August 11th, 2022 in Abuja.
In the words of Ehanire: “So far, since the launch of the Fund in January, 2019, the Federal Government has released a total of 89.0 billion to the fund. Of this amount, we have disbursed a total of 56 billion naira to all the 36 states and FCT. Further disbursement to eligible states will be presented for approval today at this meeting.
“With the disbursement so far made to states, we are providing operational funds to 7,250 primary healthcare facilities in 35 states and the FCT. With this initiative, many of our primary health care facilities are now able to provide care for our people in the communities. The goal is to ensure at least one functional PHC in every ward of the Federation.”
The Minister also revealed that 1,042,890 poor and indigent Nigerians have been enrolled as beneficiaries of a comprehensive Basic Minimum Package of Health Services provided through health insurance, of which 753,999 in 24 States are now able to assess care free.
He announced that in line with the NCDC Act 2018, NCDC gateway has now been created as a fourth Gateway of the BHCPF and will now receive funding from the BHCPF. “ A draft guidelines for the administration and disbursement of funds on this Gateway will be presented for consideration here today. This will strengthen the states capacity to prepare and respond to public health emergencies, he added.”
Speaking further, Dr. Ehanire said while it is important to strive to increase the number of enrollees, it is more important to entrench accountability and transparency in the implementation of the Fund, that way people get the quality care they deserve.
Similarly, Dr. Ehanire disclosed that the National Emergency Medical Treatment and Ambulance System (NEMSAS) has begun training of Paramedics as a prelude to the launch of the Service in Nigeria. This he said will guarantee emergency medical treatment for all Nigerians.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mahmuda Mamman, in his welcome address, said that the meeting is a platform to routinely brief stakeholders on the level of implementation of the BHCPF and provide opportunity to proffer solutions to identified challenges.
Mahmuda further explained that the meeting is also to ensure the essence of the Fund which is mainly to guarantee access to basic minimum package of health services, strengthening the healthcare system and provide equal treatment to all Nigerians especially the vulnerable population.
He disclosed that, as a way strengthening transparency and accountability framework for the BHCPF, the Federal Ministry of Health was at the verge of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Office if the Auditor General of the Federation to ensure it conducts regular audit on the Management of the Fund.
He added that the Coordinating Office of the BHCPF in the Ministry in conjunction with relevant partners will be conducting regular monitoring and supportive supervision on implementation at the various levels to ensure compliance and provide quality assurance as stipulated in the guidelines.
The Secretary of the BHCPF Ministerial Oversight Committee, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, in his presentation said that although the target of BHCPF was to ensure the provision of guaranteed emergency medical treatment for all Nigerians, the current focus are the poor and indigent Nigerians who could not afford medical treatment.
He also informed that further disbursement to Nine eligible states would be presented for approval at the meeting.
In his goodwill message, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo said that the meeting was indeed unique as it would once again afford the opportunity of appraising the progress so far made in the implementation of the funding mechanism towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage and Health Security in Nigeria.
He also assured of WHO’s continuous support towards the success of the BHCPF both at the Federal and State levels.
His words: “While we would expect key updates from the gateways and engage in deliberations towards taking key decisions on the way forward, we will always keep in mind, the 5 key objectives of the BHCPF and associated targets, especially as we are moving towards the end of the 2nd year of continuous implementation in line with the current guideline.
“The WHO in Nigeria will continue to provide technical guidance and support to the government of Nigeria at the Federal and States to ensure the success of this innovative funding mechanism while supporting the detailing of the most appropriate accountability mechanisms to track progress including knowledge management systems to ensure improvement and sharing of best practices.”
A.A. A Chindaya
Deputy Director, Media & Public Relations