Federal Government has commenced the release of funds to state social health insurance agencies for the provision of much needed health services to all Nigerians especially the vulnerable populations
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire disclosed this at the official launch of the first transfer of Basic Health Care provision Fund (BHCPF) to the state Social Health Insurance Agencies for benefitting states through the National Health Insurance Scheme.
Speaking at the lauanch recently in Abuja, the minister recalled that the Federal Government had in 2014 signed the National Health Act into law in response to the poor health outcomes, but regrettably, the fund was not appropriated for the commencement of the implementation of the programme until 2018 fiscal year.
The Minister reaffirmed President, Muhammadu Buhari’s strong commitment towards this course , as expressed in his speech at the 2019 inaugural June 12 Democracy Day Celebration where he said, “We will accelerate investments in primary, secondary and tertiary health care programs, interventions and infrastructure…”
Ehaneri explained that the Basic Health Provision Fund will be administered through three gateways, NHIS, NPHCDA and the FMOH. He noted that in the NHIS gateway, the National Health Insurance Schemes will purchase a basic minimum Package of Healthcare Services for all participating Nigerians.
The Minister further informed that the sum of N13.775 billion has been released, of which the National Health Insurance Scheme will be disbursing N6.5 billion to fifteen states plus the FCT which had met the eligibility criteria as at February 2019. He added that other states which had met the eligibility criteria will be accommodated as the fund is meant for all Nigerians.
Ehaneri therefore, urged the benefitting states to judiciously utilize the funds to reduce the hardship experienced by many Nigerians who pay out of pocket daily, for healthcare services.
The Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Muhammadu Nasir Sambo, described the event as an attempt by NHIS to demonstrate in practical terms, one of the pillars of its rebranding agenda, which is Transparency and Accountability, and also to sign an agreement with Nigerians. He pledged that the NHIS shall uphold openness and transparency in all its activities, both under the Basic HealthCare Provision Fund and the statutory operations of the scheme.
According to the Executive Secretary, the BHCPF is expected to be funded through; Federal Government Annual Grant of not less than one per cent of its consolidated Revenue Fund; Grants by international donors, development partners and; Funds from other sources.
Prof. Sambo encouraged states not among the current beneficiaries today to step up their efforts to be part of the next phase, for the benefit of their people.
He congratulated the beneficiaries and urged them to apply the resources appropriately, upholding Transparency and Accountability in their processes.