The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewale, has urged Nigerians to embrace the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund as it would improve primary healthcare service in the country.
Adewole made the call at the flag-off of the enrolment of beneficiaries into the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund on Friday in Abia.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme held at the Apumiri Ubakala Primary Health Centre, in Umuahia South Local Government Area of the state.
The minister said the BHPF is a programme of the Federal Government in conjunction with the state government to make healthcare needs accessible to the people at no cost.
According to him, the components of the programme consist of antenatal care, delivery including caesarian section, vaccination and under-5 ailments including malaria and measles.
He said: “It will also take care of all adults in the aspects of malaria, family planning and screening for diabetes and hypertension.
“This is a project that is dear to the federal government, to which N55 billion has been allocated.’’
The minister said the project also got financial support from donor agencies including the World Bank as well as Bill and Mellinda Gates Foundation.
He said they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government “to continue to fund us for the next five years with 15 million dollars every year”.
He regretted that the Primary Health Centres had over the years become dysfunctional.
He said: “We have over 30,000 PHCs across the country but many of them are not functioning.
“So, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, we decided to re-habilitate 10,000 PHCs.
“If we have 10,000 working, with one per political ward, we can reach 100 million Nigerians with basic healthcare.”
He said it would be predominantly financed through an annual grant from the Federal Government of not less than one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
According to him, money will flow directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria to the health facility.
He said: “This facility will have a bank account operated by the head of this facility and the head of this ward.
“So, only two people will access the account and they will get money directly from the Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
“But for every case they manage, they will be reimbursed by the health insurance scheme.”
The minister said that Abia would in the next nine months get about N1 billion for the service and would be channelled to the 332 PHCs in the state.
He thanked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his trail-blazing effort in the health sector.
He said that Ikpeazu was the first governor to show interest in the BHPF.
In his remarks, Ikpeazu urged the citizens to avail themselves of the opportunity to enrol in the scheme to access the service.
He said: “Today’s event is dedicated to the ordinary people in the state because this facility has been sited to reach the helpless and the poor among us.”
NAN reports that the minister also inaugurated other health projects in the state.