In compliance with the National Health Act and towards increasing funding for the health sector, the Nigerian government has inaugurated a National Steering Committee on Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health in a press statement on Wednesday, the committee will seek more resources and ensure smooth operation of the Basic Health Healthcare Provision Fund.
The Basic Health Healthcare Provision Fund is part of the National Health Act, a law that came into effect in 2016 to improve the access of Nigerians to health care delivery.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who is also the Chairman of the Committee, during the inauguration said Niger, Abia and Osun had been selected as the first set of states for commencement of the implementation of the Programme in the second quarter of 2018.
“Baseline survey of the facilities to be used in each selected state has also commenced,” Mr. Adewole added.
The Basic Health Care Provision Fund is meant to assist Nigerians reduce out of pocket expenses on healthcare.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on January 31, Mr. Adewole, a professor of Medicine, said every part of the Act has been implemented, apart from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
He said the ministry was conducting a pilot project that entails offering healthcare to eight million Nigerians in three states in the next few months.
Mr. Adewole said the Global Financing Facility through World Bank and Bill and Melinda Foundation had provided initial resources to implement section 11 of National Health Act 2014 on provision of the basic minimum package of healthcare services for Nigerians.
The National Health Act 2014 section (11) makes provision for a minimum of one percent of accruals into the consolidated revenue fund to be dedicated to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
According to the Act, 50 percent (of the fund) shall be used for the provision of basic minimum package of health services to citizens in eligible primary and secondary healthcare facilities through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), while 20 percent shall be used to provide essential drugs, vaccines and consumables for eligible primary health care facilities.
The Act further provides that 15 percent of the fund be used for the “provision and maintenance of facilities, equipment and transport for eligible primary health care facilities; 10 percent of the fund shall be used for the development of human resources for primary health care and 5 percent of the fund shall be used for emergency medical treatment.”
According to the minister, the terms of reference of the committee includes promoting true collaboration in the development and implementation of basic healthcare provision fund and being fully transparent in its decision making;
He said the members will review updates on funds flow, performance management and verification of result provided by the secretariat; and monitor progress against approved plans and guidelines and appointment of external auditors.
The committee is also expected to advocate and ensure provision of required resources for planning and delivery of the Programme, among others.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire said that implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund was one of the strategies for achieving Universal Health Coverage.
While appreciating donor partners for their contributions to the Nigeria health sector, he said despite the challenges in the health sector, the country is working toward providing quality healthcare to all.
Responding on behalf of the donor partners, the representative of Global Financing Facility, Paulin Bassinga, said $2million had been committed to the basic healthcare provision fund.
He assured the Nigeria of more support from the donor agencies.
Commissioner of Health, Niger State, Mustapha Jibril, on behalf of benefitting states, thanked the development partners and Federal Ministry of Health for selecting them as pilot states.
“There is no doubt that basic healthcare provision fund would improve the health indices of the selected states,” he said.