Experts’ Opinion On FG’s Basic Health Care Provision Fund

A cross-section of participants at the workshop on Enhancing Accountability Outcomes For Health Financing and BHCPF in Nigeria

Health Sector Reform Coalition(HSRC) groups in collaboration with Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) have x-rayed the Government’s Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) with the aim to improve transparency and accountability in its disbursement.

The group which comprised of Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL), mamaye, Kaduna Maternity Accountability Mechanism (KADMAN), African Health Budget Network (AHBN), Development Governance International Consult (DGI consult) held a workshop to this effect in Abuja last week.

The workshop tagged “Enhancing Accountability Outcomes For Health Financing and BHCPF in Nigeria”, brought stakeholders together to discuss a road map on how to enhance accountability in the management of public funds spent in the health sector.

A method unanimously agreed on by the stakeholders was the use of performance score card to track accountability and transparency of the BHCPF. According to them, the score card development and implementation were found to be useful in promoting accountability and transparency of BHCPF finance disbursement and utilization in the country.

BHCPF At A Glance

The BHCPF, whose overall aim is to significantly move Nigeria towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was established under section 11 of the National Health Act as a catalytic funding to improve access to primary health care.

It serves to fund a Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS), increase the fiscal space for health, strengthen the national health system particularly at primary health care (PHC) level by making provision for routine daily operation cost of PHCs, and ensure access to health care for all, particularly the poor.

The BHCPF is derived from (a) an annual grant from the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGoN) of not less than one percent (1%) of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF); (b) grants by international donor partners; (c) funds from any other source, inclusive of the private sector.

It is implemented by 3 gateways namely, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) gateway, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) gateway and the National Emergency Medical Treatment (NEMT) gateway which is expected to cater for emergency ambulance services.

Shortcomings Of The BHCPF And Solution Proffered

The stakeholders however, appraised the existing health financing landscape in the country and noted that there was sub-optimal funding for health and inefficiencies in the health sector. They also noted that there was need to Improve efficiency in the utilisation of public funds spent in the health sector through the development and operationalization of an accountability framework.

Similarly, they underscored the centrality of raising the accountability bar to reposition the Nigeria Health Financing Landscape, adding that there was need for “Collective Leadership” where all stakeholders would come together in a collaborative relationship to ensure that the objectives of the BHCPF are actualised.

Resolutions Reached To Enhance Transparency, Disbursement Of BHCPF

After the brainstorming session, the Forum agreed to work with other stakeholders to develop a technology enabled data visualization system so that all Nigerians can have access to BHCPF data and use such data for decision making.

Consequently, the Health Gurus agreed to develop a uniform accountability framework (which would be validated at all levels), to monitor the disbursement and uptake of funds across the 3 BHCPF gateways.

They also agreed to work with stakeholders to strengthen the coordination mechanism and build institutional capacity for accountability framework deployment.

Additionally, they agreed to work with all relevant stakeholders to build on the gains of the Forum to further raise the accountability bar to achieve more money for health and more health for the money.

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