By Ndidi Chukwu
As stakeholders in the nation’s health sector continues to commend President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for signing the long awaited health bill into law, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA) has said the Bill is a “significant milestone” towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all Nigerians.
The Executive Director of the Agency, Dr. Ado Mohammed in a press statement said “Its passage and assent has been an interesting journey for all stakeholders in Nigeria’s Health space” and pledged the Agency’s commitment to “bring to bear in the efficient execution of our leadership mandate”. As he noted that the Bill is a major victory for healthcare reformers across Nigeria and internationally but an even greater victory for mothers, children and families especially those who are poor “the renewed hope is that they will now have easier and more frequent access to quality healthcare services” said Ado
Ado who congratulated Mr President, the Legislature, the Supervising Minister of Health, Civil Society, Private Sector, the media and all other proponents working to improve health outcomes in Nigeria who have been a part of this untiring advocacy for social good in Nigeria also said “it is a landmark for Healthcare Reform in Nigeria. The National Health Act provides for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund to provide access to basic health care services for Nigerians, the first such fund in the history of the country. This will be disbursed as grants to States”
According to him, The Basic Health Care Provision fund shall be financed from, Federal Government Annual Grant of not less than 1% of its Consolidated Revenue Fund and Grants by international donor partners. He said the Fund will be managed by 3 national entities as follows;
1. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency which will manage 45% of the Fund to be disbursed through each State and FCT Primary Health Care Development Board for essential drugs, vaccines and consumables (20%); provision and maintenance of facilities, laboratory, equipment and transport (15%); and development of human resources for health (10%)
2. The National Health Insurance Scheme which will manage 50% of the Fund for the provision of a basic minimum package of health services
3. The Federal Ministry of Health will manage 5% of the Fund for Emergency Medical Treatment
“Currently, 28 States and the Federal Capital Territory and their Local Government Areas have established State Primary Healthcare Development Agencies in readiness for implementation of the Act. The Agency and other partners achieved this through joint and sustained advocacy; the State Agencies will serve as veritable platforms to ensure equitable distribution of basic health services to Nigerians” Ado said
The National Health Bill was signed into law by the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR on December 9, 2014.