FG Enrols 484,000 From 23 States In Healthcare Funds

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The Federal Government has said 484,000 Nigerians have been enrolled into the Basic Health Care Provision Fund as of April 2021 in its efforts to implement the National Health Act.

The Secretary of the Ministerial Oversight Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chris Isokpunwu, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH.

The National Health Act 2014, which was signed into law on October 31, 2014, provides a legal framework for the regulation, development and management of the nation’s health system.

Part 1 Section 11 of the law makes provision for the establishment of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, which provides for not less than one per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund for health funding.

In 2017, the Senate passed a resolution mandating its Appropriation Committee to make provision for the BHCPF in the 2018 budget.

When passing the 2018 budget in May, it earmarked N57.15bn for the BHCPF.

When asked about the level of implementation of the provisions of the Act, Isokpunwu told our correspondent that about 484,000 Nigerians had been enrolled into the BHCPF as of April 2021.

The enrolees, he added, are drawn from 23 states across the country.

According to him, while no funding was received from 2019 and 2020 budget, fund was allocated in the 2021 budget.

He, however, did not disclose how much was budgeted.

Isokpunwu said, “No funding was received from 2019 Budget; none was also received from the 2020 budget.

“But there was funding allocated from the 2021 budget and a committee was inaugurated in April this year. The committee had its first briefing in June.

“As of April 2021, over 484,000 have been enrolled from 23 states to receive basic minimum package of healthcare services across the country.

“The number has even increased by now from across the states.”

When asked about the counterpart funding by states and those who have paid theirs, Isokpunwu said, “ We have not reached that stage yet and I doubt if anybody would give that information considering that the person is not under the Ministry of Health.”

36 states receive disbursement for primary healthcare

Isokpunwu added that all the 36 states of the federation have received disbursement from the BHCF for primary health care as of September 2020.

He said, “For the primary healthcare, all the 36 states of the federation have received disbursement from the basic health care fund as of September 2020 and the primary healthcare facilities are functioning based on the disbursement of the funds.

“This has also catered for 5,701 primary health care facilities.

“More than 50 per cent healthcare centres across the country have been revitalised in terms of making them functional.”

Isokpunwu added that the government was working towards fulfilling its promise of ensuring that there is at least one functional healthcare centre in each ward in the 774 local government areas.

“The promise the government made was to make sure that there is at least one functional primary health care facility in each ward in the 774 local government areas we have in the country and the government has been working towards it.

The plan of the government is to revitalise and make functional 10,000 primary health care centres and as at now, over 5,000 have been made functional.

“As regards the locations and communities, I am sorry, I cannot share them with you,” he said.

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