• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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What to expect as FG approves N25bn for primary health

What to expect as FG approves N25bn for primary health

The Federal Government has approved the release of N25 billion to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in a move to strengthen access to primary health services across the country.

The fund, extracted from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), is expected to flow through these two agencies to all states, improving the capacity of about 8,000 primary healthcare centres to provide services, Muhamad Ali Pate, minister of health and social welfare has disclosed.

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The BHCPF is a financial tool developed to fund the basic minimum package mostly at the primary healthcare level, covering the operation cost of primary health centres and ensuring access for all including the poor.

With appropriate use, Nigerians can expect significant development in the discharge of maternal and child services.

It aims to reduce maternal mortality rates and out-of-pocket payments, while also standardising the quality of care measures across primary healthcare facilities through a revised set of guidelines.

It will also improve the resources available for these centres to provide drugs and medical commodities and strengthen financial management and accountability through revised guidelines of conduct.

“Specifically on the NPHCDA gateway, the guidelines revision will include increasing direct facility financing in a tiered way to address health inequities, provide additional resources for supervision by states, and support for frontline health workers,” the minister said.

He revealed that a redesign of BHCPF is ongoing to better align resources towards improving health outcomes, with a focus on maternal and child health.

“We anticipate significant additional investments to be channelled to the primary healthcare system once the redesign is completed by July 1, 2024,” Pate said.

“We are counting on citizens and civil society organizations and the media to keep a close watch on the resources once they start to flow to each BHCPF-supported PHC facility, to ensure they are used for intended purposes only.

“We are providing a dedicated email address ([email protected]) and a dedicated phone line published on the website of the Federal Ministry of Health and other public portals, so that any citizen or civil society organization can report information on the potential misuse of BHCPF funds by anyone in the chain, from Federal, State, LGA, and facilities.

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“We also urge relevant institutions such as the EFCC, ICPC, and DSS to keep a close eye on and alert us in a preventative way if they receive credible information on any potential misuse of public funds.

Maintaining the integrity of the fiduciary system for PHC financing is a collective responsibility. Transparency is crucial, and all stakeholders must work together to combat corruption in our primary healthcare system.”