Federal Government has received applause from a civil society body for releasing sum of N12.7bn, 25% of the budgeted N55.1bn to the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund in fulfilment of its promise to improve health-being of Nigerians.
National Coordinator, White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, (WRAN), Tonte Ibraye in a statement, noted that the disbursement of the sum of N12.7bn as first tranche to the basic healthcare in three gateways to Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC).is highly commendable.
The Federal Ministry of Health had announced that it has disbursed a total sum of N12.7 billion (25%), as the first tranche of N55.1 billion from the 2018 Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) allotted to Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) received N6.5 billion (50%), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) received N5.8 billion (45%) and N327 million (2.5%) was received by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) respectively.
WRAN in its statement noted that it is pleased with the release of the funds, noting that the fund if implemented accountably, can truly reduce the cost of healthcare for Nigerians.
WRAN however advocates for accountable and transparent utilization of the funds alrerady disbursed to the basic healthcare.
According to Ibraye, “ I am excited about the news and I strongly commend the government of President Muhammadu Buhari for listening and responding to the health needs of Nigerians’’.
He however noted that the release of only N12.7b which amounts to 25% of the expected amount N55.1b is incomplete and insufficient.
He pointed out that though the disbursement is coming late, few months to the end of 2018 budget cycle and commencement of a new budget cycle for 2019, it was better late than never.
Ibraye encouraged Nigerians to identify this as the beginning of a journey for better health care services for all calling on everyone to uniote at this time to jointly advocate for the full release of the outstanding balance and equally support the States for an accountable utilization of the released funds.
Noting, “this will support Nigeria’s effort to achieve Universal Health Coverage”. urging the Federal Ministry of Health not to return the remaining 75% intoto the treasury “but should be disbursed once they are available as recommended by the National Health Act 2014”, said Ibraye.
His words: “ in my experience advocating for improved health care service for women and girls, I have consistently heard women identify out of pocket payment as a barrier to the utilization of health care service at all levels.
“In a town-hall meeting organized by the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria in Chachanga LGA of Niger State during the implementation of WRAN’s social accountability campaign, several women advocated for free health care services.’ One Hajiya Amina Usman stood out for me” he said,.
Said Ibraye, ‘’in her words, she stated that she patronizes Traditional Birth Attendants because she does not have funds to go the primary health care facility even knowing that the process can endanger her life.’’ Hajiya Usman is one out of thousands of Nigerian women who bear this cross. I am excited for what this fund can do for women like Hajiya Usman he stressed.
Mr. Tonte Ibraye also called on all stakeholders especially Civil Society Organizations, the media and every well-meaning Nigeria to be aware and sensitize the Nigerian populace about the funds so that they can ask the right questions when they visit health facilities.
White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria is also advocating to the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health to improve its information system and ensure that details of allocations, releases and disbursements of funds -Basic Health Care Provision Funds- is published monthly to ensure no information is hidden from the public.