FG disbursed N6.5bn health care fund to 15 states, FCT

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

The Federal Government has officially launched the disbursement of N6.5 billion being first phase of Basic Health Care Provision Funds (BHCPF) to 15 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for Social Health Insurance Agencies to improve the quality of life of the people interlinked with socio-economic development.

The Health minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the launch of the funds in Abuja on Tuesday said the disbursement of the fund to all states that have fulfilled the criteria is to reduce the hardship experienced by many Nigerians who daily pay through out-of-pocket as a result of ill-health adding that the significant is to make healthcare affordable to all Nigerians, especially those at the grassroots.

“The Basic Health Care Provision Fund is to be administered through three gateways namely the NHIS, NPHCDA and the FMoH. It is important to note that in the NHIS gateway, through the State Health Insurance Schemes will purchase a Basic Minimum Package of Healthcare Services for all participating Nigerians.”

The minister said, for this initial phase of disbursement, a total of N13.775 billion has been released which NHIS will be disbursing N6.5 billion to 15 states plus the FCT which had met the eligibility criteria as at February 2019. “Going forward, other states which have met the eligibility criteria will be accommodated as the fund is meant for all Nigerians.”

“You will recall that Universal Health Coverage is a top priority on the global agenda and an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which many nations including Nigeria are pursuing vigorously for the benefit of their citizens.

“As you are aware, the Government of Nigeria in 2014 signed the National Health Act into law in response to the poor health outcomes. This important legislation provides for the earmarking of not less than one percent of the consolidated revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians.”

He said, regrettably, this fund was not appropriated for the commencement of the implementation of the programme until the 2018 fiscal year adding that with the needed ‘political will’, this government has commenced the release of the funds for the provision of much needed health services to all Nigerians, especially the vulnerable populations.

Also speaking, NHIS Executive Secretary, Prof Muhammad Sambo, said the disbursement is a giant step towards the attainment of universal health coverage adding that this has endorsed the scheme’s modest rebranding initiatives.

He said, “today’s event is an attempt by NHIS to demonstrate in practical terms, one of the pillars of their rebranding agenda, which is Transparency and Accountability.

“It is also to signal a covenant with the people of our great nation, that we shall uphold openness and transparency in all our activities, both under the Basic HealthCare provision Fund and our statutory operations as NHIS.”

Prof Sambo added that the BHCPF is expected to be funded through the Federal Government’s annual grant of not less than one percent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund; grants by international donor and development partners and funds from other sources.

“There is no doubt that this activity will bring healthcare within the reach of otherwise indigent and vulnerable citizens of our dear country. Thus, the match towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has received a major boost.

Prof Sambo said the criteria to be met for state to be qualified are, to have a state health insurance agency, opening of TSA account for agency, and provision of counterpart funds for the state.

He encouraged those states not among the beneficiaries today to step up their efforts and be part of the next phase, for the benefit of their people.

Kano state led in the disbursement with N948, 512,911 followed by  Lagos N672, 470, 446 others are; Edo – N301,536, 846, Katsina – N638, 968, 221, Yobe – N270, 178, 208, Delta – N394, 210, 710, , Adamawa – N242, 775, 327, Anambra – N338, 943, 386, Kaduna – N552, 887, 647, Imo – N301, 716, 709, Bauchi – N530, 180, 706, Bayelsa – N116, 580, 393, Ebonyi – N230, 033, 330, Oyo – N449, 214, 592, Plateau – N337, 137, 315, FCT -N118, 166, 183.

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