By Asmau Ahmad
The Federal Government says Nigeria will need N1 trillion to cater to the health of vulnerable citizens across the country.
This would be done through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
The Secretary of the Ministerial Oversight committee for Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chris Isokpunwu, stated this in Abuja at the Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum.
The theme of the event was “Financing Primary Health Care in Nigeria – Expanding the frontiers at the Sub-National.”
Isokpunwu said that the money would also enable the country to provide Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to vulnerable citizens.
He said that the BHCF allocation was based on equity, equality, and the indigent community, adding that it was also allocated based on the poverty index of each state.
According to him, there is a need to demonstrate transparency, accountability, and results to get more funding.
He said in doing so, the BHCPF account was being audited and the disbursement of all funds was published.
The Global Lead of Health Financing, World Bank Group, Nigeria, Mr. Christoph Kurowski, recalled that the journey of Primary Health Care financing in the country started more than 40 years ago.
Kurowski said that for many high-income countries, the vision is for 80 per cent of the population’s healthcare needs to be met at the primary healthcare level.
“Part of the challenge for most PHC financing is the knowledge gap, which could be knowing what to do and how to do it. It is critical to understand health financing, community environment, and how to tackle these issues in public health,” he said.
The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Country Director, Dr. Mary Boyd, called for a mechanism to assess communities’ health needs and ensure that people going to PHC received quality and equitable services.
Boyd said that PHC workers must be trained to understand data management and how it can affect public health in the country.
This year, the forum hosted the first collaborative event with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, focusing on Primary Health Care financing, particularly the role sub-national systems must play in the process.
The organisers said that primary health centres all over the world required adequate financing and service delivery, adding that Nigeria was not an exception.