FG to give Nigerians quality healthcare as democratic dividend- Prof. Adewole

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· By Joyce Remi- Babayeju

· Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole has said that the Federal Government is determined to give Nigerians the dividend of democracy in the area of health and wellbeing of citizens especially those living in rural areas, the poor , women, under five children and the aged.

· Adewole made this known yesterday in Abuja at the launch of the second National Strategic Healthcare Provision Fund, NSHDP 11,( 2018-2022) ; The Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHCPF,; and The Reward of best performing States on the Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results , SOML-PfR.

· This was contained in a press statement signed by Mrs Boade Akinola , Director, Media Public Relations of the Ministry and made available to Nigeria Pilot yesterday.

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· The minister said that the Launch was to enable the Federal Ministry of Health effectively implement the policies as well as facilitate Nigeria’s alignment with regional and global strategies towards Universal Health Coverage, UHC.

· He lamented the limited progress the health sector had made in service delivery despite huge financial investment by the Government and out of pocket expenses by Nigerian citizens, and said the recorded poor health outcomes were driven mainly by structural issues, ranging from limited cross-tier accountability, poorly defined roles, inverted priorities and weak system levers that undermined performance.

· He explained that the Federal government is committed to address the above abnormality as it has outlined a clear Agenda to support National Strategic objectives geared towards improving access and use of basic healthcare services, financial protection, human capital development and Universal Health coverage in alignment with the strategic objectives outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.

· Also the minister disclosed that the BHCPF would be used to ensure that strategic coordination of all stakeholders including the Private sector was achieved. It would also provide an additional funding opportunity that would be used to deliver high impact interventions that would reverse the abysmal indices, particularly the indices addressing health of mothers and children.

· To ensure sustainability and ownership, Adewole said States were expected to commit to co-funding the BHCPF with the State Ministries of Health working with the Secretariat of the National Steering Committee of the BHCPF to identify eligible health facilities to implement strategic interventions for beneficiaries.

· The long term goal, according to the Minister, was to ensure that the high and outrageous out of pocket health expenditure was reduced to its basic minimum. The role out of BHCPF which would start in Six States would be escalated to the entire Country within the next 6month. In his words, “When Nigeria is committed to an issue we get it right. We got it right with polio and malaria, so we can get it right”

· The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Distinguished Senator Lanre Tejuosho, said the BHCPF launch held the key to actualizing the UHC. He also commended the Senate for appropriation of the Fund, hinting that in addition the Fund should provide financial protection for about 300,000 corps members across the country.

· Speaking on behalf of relevant Health sector Agencies, the Director General, National Primary Health Care Development Agency ,NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib , said NPHCDA and NHIS would continue to work in close synergy to ensure successful implementation of the programme. He commended the Federal Government for launching the programme and approving the release of Funds.

· Disbursement of Funds to high Performing States under the SOML-PforR with Yobe State being the Star State was part of the highlights of the event.

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