Federal Government says no fewer than 131,000 women and 373,000 children under five years will enjoy free basic healthcare in the next nine months in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdullahi Mashi, made the disclosure at the launch of the Basic HealthCare Provision Fund for the FCT at Kuchigoro Primary Health Care Centre in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said FCT residents would benefit from basic healthcare services worth N224 million over the next nine months.
He added that “the amount is equivalent to payment for the management of 131,000 pregnant women for
normal deliveries and 373,000 under-five childhood illnesses or 280,000 malaria cases.”
The permanent secretary said “in addition, 62 public sector facilities will become truly functional following the launch of the fund.
Mashi said that the launch was a demonstration of the commitment of the FCT Administration to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
According to him, 70 per cent of total health expenditure in the country is borne out of pocket, which is far higher than the globally acceptable rate of 30 to 40 per cent and remains a barrier to accessing healthcare.
He added that “the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to reversing this ugly situation and promoting shared prosperity, with the launch of this fund, I am convinced that we will turn the tide on this.”
The ministry boss said that government developed the dedicated funding mechanism to create additional fiscal space for primary health care services.
He explained that an inter-fiscal transfer of resources from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria, through Federal and State
agencies’ accounts would be made directly to facilities to enable them to deliver care adequately.
He expressed optimism that the programme would help to reverse the poor health indices in the country.
“With this programme, our children will no longer have to die as a result of vaccine preventable diseases or other common ailments.
“They would also have access to healthcare without financial hardship or the lack of capacity to pay.
“To ensure equity in the disbursement of funds, we have allocated resources per state, based on the incidence of poverty and also on a per capita basis.
“This guarantees that the programme will help reduce inequality in use and access of services particularly by the most vulnerable.”
Prof. Mohammed Sambo, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), said the scheme would work with the State Health Insurance schemes to purchase healthcare services from designated healthcare facilities for the benefit of enrollees.
He said “let me assure you that under my watch as the chief accounting officer of the NHIS, all funds entrusted under my care for the provision of these health services will be judiciously used as prescribed in the programme guidelines to improve the health status of Nigerians.”