The Federal Government has shared N6.5 billion from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) to 15 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This was announced by the Minister of Health, Osagie Enahire, on Tuesday at a press briefing at the ministry’s secretariat in Abuja.
The National Health Act 2014 created three gateways for disbursement of the BHCPF.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is to receive 50 per cent of the fund, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) 45 per cent, and the Health Ministry will receive 5 per cent for outbreaks and emergency responses.
Mr Enahire said the N6.5 billion being shared is the 50 per cent of the total N13.775billion released BHCPF in 2018.
The State Health Insurance Schemes will benefit from the NHIS share to “purchase a Basic Minimum Package of Healthcare Services for all participating Nigerians.”
Also at the event, which was well-attended by journalists and health officials, was the NHIS executive secretary, Mohammed Sambo, and Olorunnimbe Mamora, the minister of state for health.
In the breakdown of the N6.5b made available to journalists at the end of the briefing, Kano received the highest allocation with N948million, closely followed by Lagos and Katsina with N672million and N638million respectively.
The sharing formula of the funds is not provided in the document.
Also among the top receivers are Kaduna N552m; Bauchi N530m; Oyo 449m; Delta 394m; Adamawa 342m; Anambra N338m; Plateau 337m; Edo N301; Imo 301m; Yobe N270m; Ebonyi N230m.
FCT and Bayelsa are the lowest recipients with 118m and 116m respectively.
What is BHCPF?
The BHCPF is the fundamental healthcare funding provided by the National Health Act. It was included in the national budget for the first time in 2018 since the Act was signed in 2014.
It provides for not less than one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue for healthcare funding.
When passing the 2018 budget in May, the National Assembly earmarked N55 billion for the BHCPF, as stipulated by the Act. Funds from donor organisations and other sources also form part of the BHCPF.
Only 25 per cent of the 2018 BHCPF was, however, released amounting to13.77billion.
The BHCPF is aimed at providing adequate care and services at the Primary Health Care (PHC) level, mostly for the vulnerable population, so as to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
“Money will flow from the CBN to NHIS to NPHCDA to NCDC (Nigerian Centre for Disease Control) down to the PHCs,” said the former health minister, Isaac Adewole, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES last year.
Accessing the BHCPF
The BHCPF is intended for the 36 states and the FCT but only states that meet the eligibility criteria can access the fund.
Apart from providing a counterpart fund of N100 million, the Act provided that states must establish a state Primary Health Care Development Board and State Health Insurance Agency to access the fund.
Mr Ehanire said the 15 states and the FCT had met the eligibility criteria as at February.
“Going forward, other states which have met the eligibility criteria will be accommodated as the fund is meant for all Nigerians,” he explained.
In his remark, the NHIS boss admonished states not among the beneficiaries in this first phase to “step up their efforts and be part of the next phase, for the benefit of their people”.
Mr Sambo, a professor, described the disbursement of the BHCPF as a feat in the health sector “which will bring healthcare within the reach of otherwise indigent and vulnerable citizens of our dear country.”
“The march towards UHC has received a major boost”, he noted.
The official also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the “political will and courage to trigger the implementation of the BHCPF.”
Note: Below is an infograph of how the BHCPF was shared among 15 states and FCT.