Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has approved immediate payment of N232million in counterpart funding to deepen access to primary healthcare, health insurance and nutrition for under-three children in the state.
According to Rafiu Ajakaye the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, in a statement, Abdulrazaq said that the N232m includes N100m counterpart funds for Basic Healthcare Provision Funds (BHPV); N50m for Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRIN); and another N82m to access global grants for malaria.
The statement said further that the release of the counterpart funds for BHPV would grant Kwara access to the World Bank/Federal Government’s grant to cater for health needs of pregnant and nursing women and children.
“Access to such funds will help combat maternal mortality rate and other basic health challenges related to women and children. Apart from this, the funds will help to fix facilities for primary health care and reduce the pressure on secondary and tertiary health institutions,” said Abdulrazaq
The counterpart funds for ANRIN will grant Kwara access to donor funds to boost nutrition needs of children, in what is a practical step to end the menace of stunting and wasting among young children.
UNICEF has said stunted/wasted children –all of them victims of malnutrition — are at risk of early death or becoming liabilities to the society as they are unable to cope in school or contribute to economic growth.
“Experts have decried malnutrition rate among children in the North Central, where Kwara falls. Because these children are so key to the bright future that this Governor envisions for Kwara, it is important to urgently key into any initiative that would boost their nutrition and give them a brighter chance at life.
“The N82m counterpart funding for malaria is to ensure that Kwara also benefits from Global Funds set aside by donor agencies to combat malaria,” the governor added.
The release of the counterpart funding for healthcare late Monday came almost simultaneously with the payment of the N450m Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) which the agency insisted was diverted by the last administration. That diversion had led to the blacklisting of the state from the funds meant to boost access to primary health care, according to UBEC officials.
SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin