By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said his administration has put in place mechanisms to prevent the possible diversion of the N55bn Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHCPF, into private pockets at the expense of vulnerable members of the society.
He gave this assurance while speaking at the lrollout of the pioneer implementation programme for Nigeria’s BHCPF held at the State House Banquet Hall Abuja, under the brand name “HUWE” which means life.
BHCPF is the value of the country’s 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund set aside for the provision of improved health services to the people in fulfillment of the National Health Act, 2014.
Buhari said: “My presence here today demonstrates our government’s commitment to make the health of Nigerians, a top priority.
“I am told that very strict accountability and transparency mechanisms have been put in place to ensure there is no corruption in the use of the funds.
“The first phase of the roll out of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund is what we are launching here today in six states and the FCT. All other states will benefit from the Fund as they fulfill the laid down criteria for accessing the Fund.”
The President added that the BHCPF aligned with the agenda of his party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) to provide quality and affordable health care to citizens devoid of financial hardship.
He further assured that his government will fulfill all the promises it made to Nigerians, saying; “We promised to provide succor to the poor while at the same time providing for all other segments of the society.
“I am aware that out of pocket payment for health constitute over 70% of total health expenditure in Nigeria. Our vision is to reverse this ugly situation and promote shared prosperity.
“We are also providing money through the Saving One Million Lives Performance for Result Initiative to States to improve their performance on Health. The presentation of the cheques here to high performing states today is a testament of our resolve to improve the health indices in our country and encourage competitiveness among the states by paying for performance.
“Let me assure you that our Government will fulfill all the promises made to Nigerians. It is my hope that with the provision of quality health care to our people, our citizens will be healthy and more productive.”
President Buhari called on state governors to also put necessary measure in place to ensure that health care is improved for the people.
The six pilot states that benefited in the first phase roll out of the BHCPF programme are Niger, Osun, Abia, Katsina, Edo, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory.
Earlier, in his presentation, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, urged states government’s to continue funding primary health care, cautioning them against viewing the BHCPF as a replacement.
He said the federal government has laid the policy foundation for achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and is currently mobilising resources to enable the nation achieve that goal.
Adewole said HUWE as a programme has “an explicit line of guaranteed set of services, will minimise leakages in resources, and support the improvement of quality of care delivered at primary healthcare centres by instituting quality improvement plans.”