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FG approves disbursement of N12.9 billion through Basic Health Care Provision Fund for Q3, 2024

The Federal Government has approved the disbursement of N12.911 billion through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) for the third quarter of 2024.

The announcement was made by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, during the 7th meeting of the BHCPF Ministerial Oversight Committee held on Thursday in Abuja.

This amount represents the 2023 fund allocation for one quarter and will be utilized in line with the 2020 BHCPF guideline, pending the review of new guidelines.

Despite the significant funding, only 7,250 out of the 35,514 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the country are currently benefiting from the BHCPF, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

The Basic Healthcare Provision Fund

According to Prof. Pate, a thorough assessment revealed significant flaws in the BHCPF implementation, prompting all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to commit to immediate corrective measures.

Prof. Pate highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to improve the BHCPF, aligning with Nigeria’s Health Sector Renewal Initiative and President Bola Tinubu’s approval for a Sector-Wide Approach.

“A sub-committee established during the 5th Ministerial Oversight Committee (MOC) meeting is leading these reforms.”

“Key developments include the ongoing review of the BHCPF Guideline, with proposed reforms for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and NPHCDA already approved in March 2024,” Pate stated.

The reforms aim to better align resources and improve health outcomes, such as increased antenatal coverage, skilled-birth attendance, immunisation rates, and overall health insurance coverage in Nigeria.

Dr. Muyi Aina, Executive Director of the NPHCDA, confirmed that two memos were submitted and approved by the MOC.

The first memo, jointly presented by the NCDC Gateway and EMT Gateway, outlined proposed reforms focusing on programmatic improvements and fiduciary interventions.

“The first memo, jointly presented by the NCDC Gateway and EMT Gateway, outlined proposed reforms.”

The second memo addressed the disbursement of N12.9 billion across all states for the third quarter, following the previous approval of N25 billion for the first two quarters.

“The second memo focused on the disbursement of N12.9 billion across all states for the third quarter, following a previous approval and disbursement of N25 billion for the first two quarters,” he said.

The significance of the BHCPF on primary health centers

Dr. Aina emphasized the need to improve the quality of PHCs across states, utilizing resources from the BHCP funds, state funding and external sources like World Bank loans.

“We have conducted assessments with the NHIA and states to identify facility gaps and prioritize improvements.”

“The focus now is on working closely with each state to sequence the refurbishment of these facilities, starting with those most urgently in need of support,” he said.

Dr. Kelechi Ohiri, Director General of the NHIA, highlighted the importance of transparency in fund utilization.

“This meeting ensures visibility into how funds are utilized, promoting openness about the allocation and expenditure of resources.”

“It serves as a platform to address challenges and constraints in implementing healthcare initiatives, aiming for collective resolution and proactive steps forward,” Ohiri stated.

Ohiri disclosed that approximately 2.7 million Nigerians are now insured under the BHCPF initiative, ensuring access to a minimum package of healthcare services at PHCs without out-of-pocket expenses.

The initiative has also spurred states to fund their health insurance programs, expanding coverage beyond federal efforts.

What you should know

The federal government established the BHCPF in 2014 under Section 11 of the National Health Act to improve access to primary health care.

  • Funded by not less than one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the federal government and other sources, including donor contributions, the BHCPF aims to increase fiscal space for health, strengthen the national health system, and ensure healthcare access for all.
  • In March 2024, the Nigerian government had previously authorized the disbursement of N25 billion through the BHCPF to states across the federation, targeting direct facility financing and workforce incentives.
  • Data from the BHCPF and the Africa Health Budget Network indicates that from 2019 to 2022, an estimated N89 billion was disbursed through the fund.

 


Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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