By Uchechukwu Afamefune
The Minister of Health, Prof.Isaac Adewole has said that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that all Nigerians, particularly the women, children and adolescents facing challenging circumstances have access to basic health and nutrition services that they need.
Adewole made this known at a forum put together by the Federal government, the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and Partners, in Abuja, to co- finance efforts towards improving the health and nutrition of the poorest Women, children and adolescent in the country.
“The GFF has created a new sense of awareness that we must put our money on the table for these essential investments in our people and use them in even smarter ways and that is something that has not been done before,”, Adewole regretted that, the challenges had hugely outpaced government spending on health and nutrition, coupled with spending in recent years being unable to reach those who needed them most and doing little to reduce out –of-pocket spending on health by poor Nigerians.
Speaking, the Director of the GFF, Mariam Claeson, said Nigeria’s commitment to sustainably financing health and nutrition was a beacon for other countries as they worked closely with the GFF to ensure the investment lasted for years to come.
“The Government of Nigeria will make an enormous difference in the lives of millions of Nigerians by making a lasting investment in the health and nutrition of women, children and adolescents.’’
In his remarks, the World Bank Country Manager for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, said that the Government of Nigeria, with the support of the GFF, the World Bank and other partners were catalysing Real Change for the people of Nigeria. ‘’This investment in human capital will pay dividends in lives saved and improved and help build a stronger and more prosperous economy’’
In the long run, the BHCPF’s success will be underpinned by the use of the Government of Nigeria’s own resources to purchase services instead of inputs; the buying of services from both public and private providers; the establishment of a system of accreditation to improve quality of care; the financing of a rigorous system of verification that helps ensure value for money; the creation of robust payment systems and the demonstration of long-term government commitment to using public funds to subsidise the cost of services for the poor , amongst others.
The GFF is investing a total of US$47 Million in Nigeria, linked to US$350 million in funding from the International Development Association and the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, which had focused on scaling-up health services in North East, Nigeria and accelerating nutrition results for women, children and adolescents in the country.
The Global Financing Facility is a multi-stakeholder partnership that is helping countries tackle the greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women, children and adolescents. GFF is supported by Governments of Canada, UK, Denmark, Japan, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Norway.