By Gina Abella
A Civil Society Organisation, National Advocates for Health (NA4H), has urged the Federal Government to speedily release the N25bn budgetary allocation for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), for the year 2020, to the relevant agencies
This came as the group demanded a quarterly publication of the total amount of funds disbursed by the Federal Ministry of Health, to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), as well as the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Chairman NA4H, Prof Oladapo Ladipo who on Wednesday in Abuja commended the recent approval of the revised 2020 BHCPF guidelines by the National Council on Health, however lamented that the downward review of the BHCPF from N44.50 billion to N25 billion was a major set back to implementation of basic health care provision. Also, Ladipo decried the non-compliance with Abuja declaration of Allocation of 15% of National revenue to the Health sector, medical tourism, human capital flight to greener pastures by Health workers and gross under-funding of the health sector which he said was part of the reasons for the country’s dysfunctional health care system.
According to him, the aforementioned issues have without any doubt, resulted in inequitable distribution of Human Resources for Health and led to unacceptable preventable mortality and morbidity. While stressing the need for a speedy, transparent, and accountable implementation of the BHCPF, he appealed to the Federal Government to prioritize health as a political agenda and sustain its funding amid the Coronavirus pandemic and crashed global oil prices.
In his words: “In the initial 2020 approved budget, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), N44.50 billion was allocated and captured in the Part C of the 2020 approved budget ‘Statutory Transfers’. However, in the revised national budget assented in June 2020, the BHCPF only got N25 Billion. This is a major setback to the implementation of the BHCPF.
The NA4H thus recommended that; “The 2020 BHCPF allocated budget of N25 Billion should be released at once from the treasury to the Three Gateways dedicated accounts: Federal Ministry of Health, NPHCDA and NHIS, respectively. “NPHCDA and NHIS should ensure speedy disbursement of funds to the 36 states plus FCT for onward disbursement to the designated and accredited primary health care centers bank accounts and for the implementation of essential health services. “The FMoH should be publishing every quarter the total amount of funds disbursed to the Three Gateways and the amount disbursed to all the 36 states plus FCT. This will deepen transparency, accountability, and efficiency.”
NA4H also called on State Governors to honour their commitments to pay 25% counterpart fund through annual state budgetary provisions, and ensure PHC Facilities are ready to roll out BHCPF. “State Governors are called upon to ensure they have functioning state health insurance agencies backed by laws, to qualify them to access funds from the NHIS Gateway,” the CSO added.