BY INUSA NDAHI, MAIDUGURI
Borno State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BoSPHCDA), through Nigeria State Health Investment Project (NSHIP), a World Bank assisted project has vowed to sanction any Facility Manager or staff that mismanage Investment Credit/Seed Funds or Subsidies that were disbursed to 101 Primary Health Care facilities and General Hospitals in the 10 Local Government Areas earlier contracted across the state.
Executive Director of the agency, Dr Sule Meleh gave the warning.
He said, NSHIP and Performance Based Financing (PBF) which came as a ‘Live Saver’ to the traumatized people, especially millions Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and those living in the host communities since its introduction in 2017, is aimed at strengthening the health system through community participation, accountability and transparency in the whole process to improve Maternal, New-born and Child Health Indices and Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Borno state that has suffered much destruction by insurgents in the last 10 years.
Dr. Meleh stated this on Wednesday when he chaired the Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting for the 1st Quarter 2019. The meeting was to review achievements of NSHIP/PBF, deliberate on pressing issues as it relate to the contracted health facilities with a view to address them accordingly.
He specifically charged all the Directors of the PHCs in the 10 LGAs who also attended the meeting to be up and doing in the discharge of their statutory responsibilities with their respective health facilities ensure prudence and accountability in management of the resources/funds made available by the NSHIP.
Meleh stressed that, in view of the importance the World Bank, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, BoSPHCDA and the State Government attached to NSHIP/PBF, the agency under his leadership would not mind use the sledgehammer on any facility found guilty of mismanaging funds
His words: “In NSHIP, Facility Managers and other staff must use the proper Financial Management guidelines as stated in the trainings and retraining we had with you earlier. As Directors of PHC at your respective LGAs, you have an important role to play and ensure that they (Facility Managers) in particular adhere strictly to the laid down rules and regulations guiding purchases of essential drugs, medical equipment and renovation of existing structures in their contracted facilities.
“We all know that we in BoSPHCDA have gone a long way in the implementation of NSHIP/PBF, gradually we are building up after the pilot LGAs of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere. We have moved into 1st and second scale up of another LGAs of Askira Uba, Biu, Magumeri, Kaga, Hawul, Shani, Bayo and Kwaya Kusar. Very soon we will move the scale up to Mafa, Konduga and other LGAs as the security situation improves.
” There is no disputing facts that we have faced a lot of challenges in the implementation process, but I am also proud that we have made some modest achievements.
“The purpose of this TWG meeting is to look at some of the bottlenecks in the implementation process in Borno state, and come out with a new ideas or best practices to address the challenges at hand to improve NSHIP.
” You are all aware of the financial management and the audit that has gone round the facilities in the pilot LGAs and the feedback from that. We have had series of financial management meetings and trainings where we emphasized very strongly on how to properly manage these finances. This project bus supported by World Bank, even though the monies belong to Borno State Government. The World Bank is just the administrator of these grant for now.
“So their concern is about financial management of this project, regardless of the successes you have made, if there is any bridge of financial protocol at any level, it means you have to refund without delay or face the wrath of the law. So therefore, I want to use this opportunity to enjoin all of you particularly the Facility Managers and Directors at the LGA level to please adhere strictly and shun any act of financial mismanagement.” Dr. Meleh warned.
On shortages of manpower gap in some of the contracted facilities, the Executive Director therefore suggested that, since the Seed Fund cannot support the contracting of health personnel gap, partners such as UNICEF should be involved to assist in funding recruitment of adhoc health personnel. Adding that, health workers on the cadre of CHEW and above enrolled into the N- POWER programme by the Federal Government should also be engaged to bridge the gap.
“As we partner with UNICEF and other stakeholders, it is high time we start engage the services of Adhoc Nurses and Midwives, CHEWs for a short term of six months, so that our contracted Health facilities which have shortage of human resources benefit from this short term plan towards strengthening the health system in the state”. He said.
The meeting was well attended by Representatives from Developing Partners like UNICEF, Community Based Organizations, Hospital Management Board, Independent Verifier Agency, Contract Management Verification Agencies, Project Implementation Unit Team, Head of Project Finance Monitoring Unit (PMFU), Director from Ministries of Local Government and Emirate Affairs and that of Health among others.