Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and stakeholders in the health sector have criticised the delay in releasing the Basic Health Care Provision Fund earmarked in the 2018 budget by the Federal Government.
They said that the delay was undermining the gains achieved in the health sector so far and forcing the sector to continually remain dependent on international donor agencies.
The stakeholders and CSOs expressed their dissatisfaction over the delay in Abuja on Tuesday at a one-day strategy session on “Advocacy for Implementation of Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) of the National Health Act’’.
Dr Emmanuel Abanida, Senior Technical Advisor, [email protected] Project, said that although the 2018 budget provided over N57 billion as BHCPF, the money was yet to be released less than 45 days to the end of the year.
Abanida said that the implication to the non-release of the funds was that it would not be included in the 2019 budget since there was zero allocation to BHCPF in 2018.
“The summary of the whole situation is that money for the basic health care provision fund is not available now.
“We understand the 2018 budget provides for over N57 billion as BHCPF but we have not seen it and we are now less than 45 days to the end of 2018.
“The implication to the non-release of the fund this year is that the money for BHCPF will not be included in the 2019 budget because of the zero funding in 2018.
“The Nigerian government is not giving the health sector the attention and priority it needs to be given unlike other sectors such as security, power and agriculture.
“The government has failed to realise that the country needs a healthy population first who will then be able to vote, enjoy security, power and other services.
“We need to work together to ensure this funds are released because its unavailability is stalling provision of basic primary health care services to citizens across the country,” Abanida said.
He charged the Federal Government to stop giving less attention and priority to the sector as the country needed to put an end to its dependence on international donor organisations.
According to Abanida, “we cannot continue running from Geneva, Switzerland to London, New York and other developed countries asking for money and seeking support whereas we are capable of taking basic care of our people if we really put our minds to it’’.
Mrs Chika Okoh, Federal Partnership Facilitator, DFID Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn – Engaged Citizens (PERL-ECP), earlier said that the session aimed to advocate for the release and implementation of the BHCPF fund.
Okoh said that this could be achieved by developing key advocacy messages and setting an agenda to drive a coordinated social media campaign.
According to her, for the first time since the passage of the National Health Act (NHA) 2014, the federal government through the National Assembly made provision for one per cent consolidated revenue fund (CRF) in the 2018 Budget.
“This fund is yet to be released and the year 2018 is coming to an end.
“2019 which is election year, release of the funds may not be considered a priority if we do not begin now to hold and sustain strong advocacy,” Okoh said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the BHCPF is financed by the Federal Government Annual Grant of not less than one per cent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund and grants by international donor partners.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will manage 50 per cent of the basic health care provision fund for the provision of basic minimum package of health services.
The Federal Ministry of Health will manage five per cent of the fund for emergency medical treatment.
The News Agency of Nigetia, NAN, reports that Forty five per cent of the BHCPF is to be managed by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Twenty per cent of the funds managed by NPHCDA is for disbursement to all states and FCT Primary Health Care Development Board’s for provision of essential drugs, vaccines and consumables.
Fifteen per cent of the funds managed by NPHCDA is allocated for the provision and maintenance of health facilities, laboratory, equipment and transport.
The remaining 10 per cent of the 45 per cent funds managed by NPHCDA is to be used for development of human resources for the health sector.
The advocacy session was organised by the DFID Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (DFID-PERL).