A group under the aegis White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN) has commended the Federal Government for disbursing the first tranche of the N55.1billion 2018 Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), 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).
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, the National Coordinator WRAN, Mr. Tonte Ibraye, noted that out of the 25 per cent of the total N55.1 billion amounting to N12.7 billion, NHIS received N6.5 billion (50 per cent), NPHCDA received N5.8 billion (45 per cent) and N327 million (2.5 per cent) was received by the NCDC, fom the 2018 Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) allotted to Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Commending release of the funds, he harped on the need for accountable and transparent utilisation of the funds, stressing that if implemented accountably, the fund could reduce the cost of health care for Nigerians.
“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.
While pointing out that the release of only N12.7b was incomplete and insufficient, he lamented that the disbursement was coming late, few months to the end of 2018 budget cycle and commencement of a new budget cycle for 2019.
Ibraye urged Civil Society Organisations, and the citizenry to identify this as the beginning of a journey for better health care services for all Nigerians, but jointly advocate for the full release of the outstanding balance and support the States for an accountable utilisation of released funds to Nigeria achieve Universal Health Coverage.
He further called on the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) to ensure that the remaining 75 per cent was not returned to the treasury, but should be disbursed once they were 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 utilisation of health care service at all levels. In a town hall meeting organised 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, she stated that she patronises Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) 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 said.
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