Efforts to reform the health sector, particularly primary healthcare services, got a fillip yesterday with the inauguration of a committee on the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
The step aims of provide quality basic health care services to all Nigerians, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha disclosed during the inauguration of the 15-man Committee in Abuja.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs Office, Mr. David Andrew Adejo, the SGF said the National Health Act (2014) has been empowered to increase the overall financing to the health sector and help improve access to primary health care services for Nigerians especially the poor and the vulnerable, particularly, women and children.
He stated that the Bureau for Public Service Reforms, BPSR, through engagements with critical stakeholders, has developed a draft stakeholder coordination framework to help support an effective multi-stakeholder engagement toward a harmonized strategy for implementation of the Fund at national and sub-national levels.
While inaugurating the Committee, the SGF stated that the reform was a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to reform the health sector to ensuring quality basic health care service to all Nigerians with emphasis on rural dwellers and the vulnerable in the society.
SGF further stated that despite the budgetary allocation for the operationalization of the BHCPF, many Nigerians have not benefitted from it since six years of its establishment emphasizing that the Joint Working Committee was constituted to provide an effective stakeholders coordination mechanism towards the actualization of the Fund.
Part of the Terms of Reference for the members of the Committee according to the SGF, is to bring stakeholders up to speed on the status of the Fund, to proffer recommendations as action plans to fast track progress of implementation and to establish the need for the stakeholder coordination framework and other mechanisms to sustain momentum.
The Director-General of Bureau for Public Service Reforms, Mr. Dasuki Arabi said the fund was designed to bring relief to good number of Nigerians who have never experienced proper basic healthcare, to reduce out of pocket expenses for health services in order to improve the quality of lives of the rural dwellers and the vulnerable people.
Mr. Arabi attributed the slow implementation of the Fund to gaps in the enabling Act and poor buy-in from the states and inter-agency rivalry amongst others. It is in a bid to revive the Fund that the BPSR with the support of development partners, Civil Society Organisations and Non- Governmental Organisations undertook analysis of the current situation of the Fund in order to uncover the underlying issues and seek a way forward for speedy implementation.
The Basic Health Care Provision Fund is the funding provision of the Federal Government- established under the National Health Act, 2014. The objective for the Act is to increase the overall financing to the health sector and help improve access to primary health care services for all Nigerians, especially the poor and the vulnerable with the overall goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
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