Friday Olokor, Abuja
The Federal Government on Tuesday commenced the disbursement of the first phase of Basic Health Care Provision Funds estimated at N15bn to the state health insurance agencies.
The disbursement was done by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora; and the Executive Director of National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Mohammed Sambo.
Documents obtained by journalists during the event held in Abuja indicated that 15 states and the Federal Capital Territory would be beneficiaries of the first tranche of the money.
The beneficiaries are Edo (N301m), Kastina (N636m), Yobe (N270m), Delta (N394m), Lagos (N672m), Adamawa (N342m), Kano (N948m), Anambra (N338m), Imo (N301m), Kaduna (N552m), Bauchi (N530m), Bayelsa (N116m), Ebonyi (N230m), Oyo (N449m), Plateau (N337m) and the FCT (N118m).
Ehanire described the event as a historic moment in the quest by government to improve the quality of life of Nigerians, especially in the area.
The minister said, “It is our plan and desire that this fund will be judiciously utilised by the benefiting states which will in turn reduce the hardship experienced by many Nigerians who daily pay through out of pocket as a result of ill health.
“The Universal Health Coverage remained a top priority on the global agenda and an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals which many nations, including Nigeria, were pursuing vigorously for the benefit of their citizens.
“As you are aware, the government of Nigeria in 2014 signed the National Health Act into law in response to the poor health outcomes. This important legislation provides for the earmarking of not less than one per cent of the consolidated revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians.”
He added, “Regrettably, this fund was not appropriated for the commencement of the implementation of the programme until the 2018 fiscal year. However, with the needed ‘political will’, this government has commenced the release of the funds for the provision of much needed health services to all Nigerians, especially the vulnerable populations.
“It is important to note that in the NHIS gateway, the NHIS through the State Health Insurance Schemes will purchase a basic minimum package of health-care services for all participating Nigerians.”
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