• Friday, April 19, 2024
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Poor accounting stalls payment of ₦128b healthcare funds to states, FCT

Nigerian Healthcare delegation returns from WomenLift Health Conference, equipped to drive change in Nigeria

The federal government has disclosed that a total of N128.6 billion have been released for Basic Healthcare Provision Fund since inception in 2019, for states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but only N59.6 billion have been disbursed to states, representing 46.6 percent.

Mahmuda Mamman, permanent secretary, federal ministry of health, who made this known at a Strategic Legislative Health Retreat in Abuja, said that the remaining funds are yet to be disbursed because states are yet to account properly for what has been released to them.

The BHCPF is a federal and state funded initiative to provide free minimum basic healthcare to the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians through accredited Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in each of the 36 states and FCT.

The fund is disbursed through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the National Health Insurance Authority, The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the emergency medical treatment gateway.

“Since inception, N128.6 billion has been released from the federation account. The funds are not just sitting at the ministry of health, disbursement to states can only be made further if what has been released has been accounted for, so we don’t just throw the money out”, he said.

The permanent secretary harped on the need to improve primary health care funding, stressing that they are the bedrock. He also pointed out that funding is not just the responsibility of federal government, but states too.

He urged states to increase funding and find innovative ways they can bring in funding.

The permanent secretary also decried that only 3 percent of Nigerians have any form of health insurance according to recent data made available to the ministry. “We all have a role to play in increasing resources”, he stressed.

At the retreat, the World Health Organisation and former law makers set agenda new legislators on Nigeria’s health sector. The WHO charged new legislators on health in the 10th National Assembly to see their role as a great responsibility towards improving Nigeria’s poor health outcome and ensuring that all citizens have access to the healthcare they need without falling into poverty.

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Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO representative in Nigeria made this call at a strategic Health Legislative Retreat. He noted that there are areas of the health sector that require attention towards achievement of universal health coverage (UHC), health security and to alleviate poverty.

“As you are aware, UHC is a political decision. Countries have achieved UHC using public financing. With out-of-pocket expenditure on health from households consistently above 70 percent when the WHO benchmark is 30-40 percent, and per capita government health expenditure at less than $15 per annum, against the benchmark of $86, you will agree with me that the work to be done is enormous”, he said while urging Legislators to increase health expenditure.

‘My expectation therefore is for Legislators to leverage their unique and prestigious functions of appropriation, legislation, and oversight to improve health outcomes in Nigeria towards poverty reduction and economic prosperity”, he said.

Ibrahim Oloriegbe, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Health emphasised the need for the 10th Assembly to sustain the 2023 budgetary allocation to health, and aim at achieving 10 percent allocation by 2027.

Oloriegbe urged the new lawmakers not to focus on creating new laws but to review pending bills and reactivate process to pass and sign them into law such as the public health emergency bill, the NHA amendment bill, among others.

He also urged the legislators to ensure implementation of already existing laws, especially the National Health Insurance Act. He regretted the 9th Assembly failed to include the critical Vulnerable Group Fund as provided in the Act in the 2023 budget, and urged the 10th National Assembly to ensure it is included in the 2024 budget.

“For you coming in, there is likely to be a supplementary budget, so your work starts there as a committee, negotiate and get Vulnerable Group Fund to be added there, it should be in your agenda. The National e

Emergency Agency Bill is another important one, for now, if anybody collapse in this country even in Abuja here we have no ambulance . It is a very big musing link too strengthen emergency. The cancer fund still have money not spent”, he urged.