NIGERIA – Nigeria’s Secretary of the Oversight Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health Chris Osa Isokpunwu has announced that the Federal Government has disbursed N86 billion (US4210M) from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPF) as of June 2022.

Basic Healthcare Provision Fund is a federal and state funded initiative inaugurated in 2019 designed to improve primary healthcare services and strengthen public health facilities for better investment within the health sector.

The basic minimum package of health services is a comprehensive package of preventive, curative and rehabilitative provision including education for the prevention of illnesses and the promotion of health of Nigerians.

The new National Health Act in Nigeria aims to substantially increase revenue and improve Primary Health Care (PHC) services through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

The fund was established to strengthen the Primary Health Care (PHC) system, provide a basic minimum package of health services for all Nigerians particularly the poor and indigents as well as provide emergency medical treatment through effective mobilization and utilization of available resources.

Nigeria’s President Major General Muhammadu Buhari recently signed the National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2021 that mandates all employers and employees in public, private, and informal sectors as well as all other residents of Nigeria have access to health insurance.

The Health Insurance Act approves and empowers the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to ensure the provision of health insurance for all Nigerians through a mandatory mechanism in collaboration with state health insurance agencies.

Moreover, Nigeria launched the Primary Health Care Under One Roof programme in 2011 designed to improve primary healthcare services through the integration of all PHC services delivered under one authority.

Dr. Chris Osa Isokpunwu revealed that about N56 billion (US$130M) has so far been disbursed to the 36 states and a federal capital territory (FCT) out of the N86 billion (US4210M) to benefit more than 7,000 Primary Health Care centres in delivering high quality, effective care.

Chris Isokpunwu said that the Federal Government allocates operational funds on a quarterly basis to Primary Health Care centres used to procure essential medicines, fund transportation for vaccines and other medical consumables in the health sector.

The funds were also used for human resource mobilization in health as well as maintaining infrastructure and equipment in the PHCs with an aim to ensure that there was at least one functional PHC in each of the 8,809 political wards in the country.

Chris Isokpunwu further said that about 83 per cent of the functional PHC in every federal state target had been reached as over 7,500 PHCs had already been reached while 1 million poor and indigent Nigerians have been enrolled to have access to basic minimum package of health services.

Subsequently, people that have been enrolled to the BHPF in 35 out of the 36 states and the FCT now have access to free medical treatment for common ailments and surgeries along with access to care covering a broad spectrum of health conditions.

He disclosed that Nigeria has plans underway to pull out indigent Nigerians out of poverty to ensure the provision of guaranteed emergency medical treatment for all Nigerians in line with the federal government’s objective of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

Under the plans, Nigerians will be guaranteed in the event of emergency that they will receive treatment at urgent care centres and for those poor and indigent ones who cannot pay, the BHPF will guarantee their payment.

He explained that under the fund, any Nigerian that has an emergency will be treated without the question of who will pay while noting that sickle cell anemia was covered and patients with the disease would be able to access care free of charge.

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