By Muhammad Auwal
Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), and Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), CSOs, have decried the non-implementation of ambulance services on the highways four months after disbursing N327 million to the Federal Ministry of Health for the programme.
The Coordinator of AHBN and Co-Chair of CHR, Dr Aminu Magashi, said this known at the maiden monthly interaction with Association of Nigeria Health Journalist (ANHEJ) in Abuja.
He said ambulance together with Referral and Trauma Services were part of Emergency Medical Treatment (EMT) of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) provided by the National Health Act 2014.
Dr Magashi added that the operation manual of the BHCPF indicates that EMT carries 2.5 per cent of the total funding for (BHCPF) annually.
He said the programme was domiciled with the Department of Hospital Services of the federal ministry of health.
According to him, the EMT got N327 million from the May disbursement of the BHCPF, adding that the money is to be used as start up for the services.
However, he lamented that four months after disbursement the services was yet to commence, hence the need for the new leadership of the ministry to commence full implementation of the programme.
“The money is available, the operational manual is available since the discussion on the matter has commenced we need to see ambulances on the six identified highways.
“ We also need to see the ambulances responding to patients and referring them to the nearby identified facilities,’’ he said.
Magashi recalled that over N13 billion representing 25 per cent of the Basic Health Provision Fund was released in May 2019.
He explained that the fund goes to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Federal Ministry of Health.
He added that the 50 per cent of the money went to NHIS to provide health insurance at state level, 45 per cent went to NPHCDA to ensure that PHCs were working.
He said 2.5 per cent of the money went to NCDC to address disease outbreaks and emergency preparedness, while 2.5 per cent also went to federal ministry of health for emergency medical treatment.
Magashi said that additional 25 per cent of the fund was already credited to the CBN account of federal ministry of health but it was yet to be release to the benefitting agencies.
The BHCPF is the one per cent of the federal government Consolidated Revenue and contributions from donor grants set aside to fund the basic health needs of Nigerians.
It is the fundamental funding provision under the National Health Act and was appropriated for the first time in the 2018 budget since the Act was signed in 2014.
The federal government earmarked N55.1 billion for the CRF to the basket fund of the BHCPF, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $2 million, out of which 1.5 million dollars has been released.
The federal ministry of health inaugurated an Emergency Medical Treatment (EMT) committee and National Emergency Medical Services and Ambulance Scheme (NEMSAS) on Feb. 5.
The committee was Chaired by the then Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, now the Minister of Health.