Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal government, on Friday, confirmed that Abia State is entitled to benefit basic health care services worth N1.08 billion in the recently-launched Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), in next nine months.It said the amount was equivalent to medical bill 635,000 women with normal deliveries, 1.8 million under 5-childhood illnesses or over 1.3 million cases of malaria, in addition to 332 public-sector facilities that would become truly functional as a result of the programme
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed this information when he launched the BHCPF at Apumiri Ubakala Primary Healthcare Centre, in Umuahia, Abia State, on Friday.
He said the fund would provide direct response to issues of inequality in access to quality primary healthcare services, and also eliminate out-of-the- pocket expenses for primary health care services.
He added: “Surprisingly, 70 percent of total healthcare expenditure in Nigeria is borne out of the pocket. This is far higher than the globally-acceptable rate of 30-40 percent, and remains a barrier to accessing health care.
“However, the Federal government is committed to reversing the ugly situation and promoting shared prosperity especially in medical services.”
He was convinced that the launch of the programme in Abia State will open the space for more people to benefit from basic healthcare services being delivered at primary healthcare centres.
He dismissed fears of sustained funding, explaining that the programme will be financially sustained through a certain percentage of the consolidated revenue fund of the federation as stipulated in the National Health Act, 2014.
“Our target is one primary healthcare centre, per ward, as identified by states, based on defined criteria with operational budgets to enable the facilities improve service delivery,” he said.
Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, who did the first enrolment at Apumiri Ubakala Primary Healthcare Centre, was optimistic that the project will herald an improved access to basic healthcare services to rural communities.
He told the beneficiaries that the Federal government had paid for the services, and they should freely and confidently visit the primary healthcare facilities and demand better and quality basic healthcare services.
He said government had promised to reimburse accredited private facilities that delivered specified services which include ante-natal care, childbirth including Caesarean sections, family planning, treatment of childhood under-five illnesses, malaria treatment for all and screening for non-communicable diseases.