The Federal Government has said that all is now set for the creation of a Basic Health Care Provision Fund to enable Nigerians to access free medicare at the local level irrespective of their ages.
This was made known by the Director-General of Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Mr Dasuki Arabi, while featuring on the agency’s forum on Sunday in Abuja.
Arabi explained that the fund was aimed at upgrading basic health care facilities in all the 774 local governments of the federation.
He said, “The fund is a creation of the Federal Government; it is a special account where a percentage of national budget is being paid into to support basic healthcare facilities in all states of the federation.
“If the facilities have been upgraded; drugs and everything in there, every person that is ill can access the facility regardless of whether you are a retiree, old or young. You will access healthcare as long as you are in the local community where the facility is and it is free.
“The bureau did some research work before this time on waiting time to see a doctor and that is after we have considered and seen the problems that people faced before they access health care services.
“So, we worked with DFID and the Ministry of Health to go round the entire federation and see what are the problems, challenges and issues. And we collectively agreed on a framework to change the approach and how patients are treated and to make it easy for them to have access to doctors, medicare in all federal health institutions.
“We are glad that the recommendations are being implemented by the ministry, it has even gone beyond what we have done to improve on that.”
Arabi pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak exposed the healthcare sector in Nigeria, noting that the sector was almost zero, hence the reason for setting up the basic healthcare provision fund.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had set the record of paying the first amount of the contribution into the account.
He said, “And it is compulsory for government to pay that percentage into that special account. We equally noticed that the states are not initially being able to access the funds, some because of reasons of coordination at the national level and some,l because of other things that they are facing.
“Then, we came up with the idea to encourage the state governments to access the funds, we brought the stakeholders together to understand themselves, to address the issues and challenges they have been facing.
“So that they will access the fund and the citizens will benefit from it.’’
Recall that in November 2021, the Federal Government inaugurated a joint working committee of the health care provision fund to ensure the provision of quality basic healthcare services to the majority of Nigerians.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who performed the inauguration stated that preference would be on people living in the rural areas and the vulnerable population. Others include women and children under the age of five years, as well as the elderly, irrespective of their locations in the country.
He added that the Basic Health Care Provision Fund was the funding provision of the Federal Government established under the National Health Act, 2014 (NHAct) for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.Follow us on social media