President Muhammadu Buhari has launched second National Strategic Health Development Plan from 2018-2022) to attain the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
He also unveiled the first phase of the N55 billion Basic Health Care Provision Fund in six states of the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Meanwhile, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has donaated $ 1.5 million to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund account, and also pledged to commit additional $75 million into the account in the next five years.
Also, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has promised to mobilise N2billion from the private sector to support the healthcare fund.Speaking at the event in Abuja, Buhari expressed his commitment to fulfilling all his campaign promises, noting that the second National Strategic Health Development Plan, which was approved by FEC in September, was part of plans to achieve the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
He noted that government in recognition of the need to invest in the people, provided N55 billion from the one per cent Consolidated Revenue Fund for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
This, he, said was in fulfillment of the provisions of the National Health Act 2014, adding that the implementation would focus more on the people living in the rural areas like children under five years, as well as women and the elderly.He lamented that out of pocket payment for health constitute over 70 per cent of total health expenditure in Nigeria. He expressed concern that functioning primary healthcare system and a mandatory healthcare insurance scheme are critical to attaining the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.
The president said the brand name for the project is “Huwe” meaning life, stressing that government would provide quality affordable healthcare to the citizens.He said the provision would be devoid of financial hardship to provide succor to the poor and improve the health indices of the country.
Buhari stressed that a very strict accountability and transparency mechanism has been put in place to ensure that there is no corruption in the disbursement of the fund.He explained that the disbursement was made to high performing states, while other states would access the fund as they fulfill the laid down criteria for accessing the fund.
Also speaking, Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, confirmed contributions to the Huwe account as at today to be N537m ($1.5m) from BMGF.He said already paid into the BHCPF account is N55.1bn ($180m) from the federal government account, and N 6.1bn ($20m) from Global Finance Facility (GFF), which would be disbursed into the BHCPF account.