By Abujah Racheal
The Federal Government says Nigeria will need one trillion Naira to cater for the health of the vulnerable citizens across the country.
This would be done through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).
Dr Chris Isokpunwu, Secretary of the Ministerial Oversight committee for BHCPF, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), said this in Abuja at the Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 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 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 published.
Mr Christoph Kurowski, Global Lead of Health Financing, World Bank Group, Nigeria, recalled that the journey of Primary Health Care (PHC) 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 U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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.
Earlier, Dr Banji Filani, Chairperson of Nigeria Health Commissioners’ Forum, said that the PHC Financing Forum aimed to bring together leaders at the sub-national level.
Filani, who is the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Ekiti state, said that the forum would enable them to explore how to advance the primary healthcare agenda in the country.
NAN reports that the Nigeria Health commissioners’ forum is the country’s community of practice and learning platform created by the 36 States’ health commissioners.
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.