By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says it has been included into the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), as a fourth gateway for public health emergencies to push the Universal Health Coverage agenda in the country.
The Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja, while addressing a World Press Conference to herald the upcoming Primary Health Care Summit, scheduled to take place on March 24 and 25, 2022, in Abuja.
Only one per cent of the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) is being allocated to the BHCPF in the annual budget since 2018. However, the allocation has been receding due to dwindling government revenue and shrinkage in the overall size of the CRF, therefore reducing the population covered by BHCPF.
The NCDC was completely excluded from the 1 per cent of the CRF and 25 per cent of counterpart funding in the BHCPF’s operations manual of the statutory guidelines in 2020.
While the 2018 operations manual of the statutory BHCPF says 2.5 per cent of the BHCPF should go to the NCDC, in the first quarter of 2018, the NCDC received N316 million from the BHCPF and was able to deploy the digital open-source software, called Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Alert System (SORMAS), which allows the agency for real-time outbreak and epidemic surveillance in the country.
Before the inclusion of NCDC as the fourth gateway; there were three gateways – the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Gateway, with 25 per cent of the total requirements for coverage of the defined population in the State. Funding may be sourced from the State Social Health Insurance Scheme Equity Fund.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Gateway has 25 per cent of the total project cost in cash or kind by the benefitting States and Local Government Areas (LGAs).
The National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee (NEMTC) Gateway has 25 per cent counterpart funding (matching grant) for funding accruing to the state from this gateway.
Adetifa, who was represented by Dr John Oladejo, Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response, NCDC, commended the federal government for the inclusion of the agency.
“We are grateful to the leadership of the Ministry of Health, our Honourable Minister for supporting the inclusion of public health emergencies led by NCDC as a fourth gateway for safeguarding Nigerians’ health,” he said.
The NCDC boss said that primary healthcare is the basis and foundation of the country’s healthcare.
“The pandemic has shown us even more how crucial it is for healthcare workers to be able to deal with infectious diseases, to be able to detect and treat safely so that their lives are safeguarded, and the lives of patients are too,” he stressed.
He added that the NCDC is committed to continue working to fulfil its mandate to prevent, detect and control infectious diseases while working with sister agencies, other MDAs and partners to ensure that the health and wellbeing of Nigerians and beyond are protected and improved.
The DG expressed the agency’s commitment to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, Universal Health Coverage and National Health Security by 2030.
He noted that the principles of Primary Health Care are not limited to Accessibility, Availability, Affordability and Acceptability, Appropriateness of health services.
“These are what we continue to make great strides towards to make sure that every Nigerian has what they need to live fulfilling and meaningful lives
“UHC is the way forward for us, it is vital. No questions regarding its value. Being able to access good, quality healthcare, early and at a good cost is needed for all Nigerians,” he said.