By Ndidichukwu Odoh
The White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN) has commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for the disbursement of N12.7 billion a 25% of N55.1billion 2018 Basic Health Care Provision Fund to the accounts of the three gateways. The Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC).
The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health announced on Friday 17th May 2019, 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 N5.8billion(45%) and N327million(2.5%) was received by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
WRAN is pleased with the release of the funds, noting that this fund if implemented accountably, can reduce the cost of health care for Nigerians. WRAN advocates for accountable and transparent utilization of the funds.
Commenting on the disbursement, WRAN’s National Coordinator, MrTonte Ibraye said…“ 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 noted that the release of only N12.7b which amounts to 25% of the expected amount N55.1b is incomplete and insufficient. He sadly noted that the disbursement is coming late, few months to the end of 2018 budget cycle and commencement of a new budget cycle for 2019. He however encouraged Nigerians to identify this as the beginning of a journey for better health care services for all Nigerians. He stressed that well-meaning Nigerians must all come together to jointly advocate for the full release of the outstanding balance and jointly support the States for an accountable utilization of released funds”
“He also said this will support Nigeria’s effort to achieve Universal Health Coverage” while encouraging the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that the remaining 75% is not returned to the treasury but should be disbursed once they are available as recommended by the National Health Act 2014.
“ 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 townhall meeting organized by the White Ribbon Alliance Nigerian 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, ‘’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.