The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has said many Nigerians are yet to benefit from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) six years after its creation.
Mr Mustapha said this at the inauguration of a 15-man committee on BHCPF in Abuja.
This is according to a statement signed and issued by the director of press at the SGF office, Willie Bassey, on Tuesday.
Mr Mustapha, who was represented by the permanent secretary, political and economic affairs office at the OSGF, David Adejo, said the fund was established to provide health services to vulnerable Nigerians.
He said despite the budgetary allocation for its operationalisation, many Nigerians have not benefited from the fund.
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.
In the 2022 proposed budget, N54 billion, amounting to six per cent of the total health budget, is earmarked for BHCPF.
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.
The SGF said the newly inaugurated committee will ensure the provision of quality basic health care services to all Nigerians.
He said this is part of the government’s effort to reform the health sector, particularly, the primary healthcare services.
He explained that the joint working committee was constituted to provide an effective stakeholders coordination mechanism towards the actualisation of the Fund.
He said the National Health Act (2014) has been empowered to increase the overall financing to the health sector and help improve access to primary health care services for Nigerians especially the poor and the vulnerable.
Mr Mustapha said the reform was a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to ensure quality basic health care service to all Nigerians with emphasis on rural dwellers and the vulnerable in the society.
He said the Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR), through engagements with critical stakeholders, has developed a draft stakeholder coordination framework to help support an effective multi-stakeholder engagement toward a harmonised strategy for implementation of the Fund at national and sub-national levels.
He said the committee is expected to bring stakeholders up to speed on the status of the Fund, to proffer recommendations as action plans to fast track progress of implementation, and to establish the need for the stakeholder coordination framework and other mechanisms to sustain momentum.
In his remarks, the Director-General of BPSR, Dasuki Arabi, said the purpose for establishing the Fund was to bring relief to a good number of Nigerians who have never experienced proper basic healthcare.
Mr Arabi said the fund also aims to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for health services in order to improve the quality of lives of rural dwellers and vulnerable people.
He attributed the slow implementation of the Fund to gaps in the enabling Act and poor buy-in from the states and inter-agency rivalry, amongst others.
He said in a bid to revive the Fund, the BPSR with the support of development partners undertook analysis of the current situation of the Fund in order to uncover the underlying issues and seek a way forward for speedy implementation.
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello's Roadmap to Hope 2023