Northern Nigerian Breaking News

BHCPF: NPHCDA says 7,250 health facilities to benefit from Decentralised Funding

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says 7,250 health facilities across the 36 states and FCT are cleared to receive the Decentralized Facility Funding (DFF) through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) Gateway.

According to it, the figure is since the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) Gateway in 2019 till date.

Dr Nneka Onu, Director, Primary Health Care Systems, NPHCDA, made the disclosure at the launch of the State of Primary Health Care (PHC) Service Delivery in Nigeria Report on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the 2019-2021 report was organised by ONE Campaign, National Advocates for Health, Nigeria Health Watch, and the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and partners.

The report tracked health progress across the 36 states and the FCT especially in the area implementation of the BHCPF.

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It put forward some critical recommendations that could lead to improvement in health outcomes for all Nigerians.

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Onu said that the NPHCDA gateway was not without challenges.

“There is a major gap in identifying the stipulated one primary health centre per ward.

“ This is because some states do not physically have one primary health centre per ward and are yet to submit a complete list of PHCs for the BHCPF

“However, we have recorded some successes, Development of BHCPF guideline, NPHCDA Gateway handbook and tools.

“NPHCDA Gateway has published a report on funds disbursed to states and health facilities,” she said.

She also listed baseline assessment of health facilities completed across all 36 states and the FCT, and capacity building of health workers and WDC done across 35 states and FCT as part of the successes.

“There is also verification exercise done in all 36 states and the FCT to confirm the readiness of health facilities to receive the fund.

“Re-verification ongoing in 16 states that have up to 30 Per cent of their facilities unauthorised, deployment of technical assistance to all states to ensure the utilisation of funds done nationwide.

“Supervision, monitoring of DFF verification, financial tracking and intensified M&E ongoing. Quarterly quality assessment at health facilities in all states and the FCT ongoing.

“Plan to conduct quarterly quality counter verification in selected states based on high and low performing states on quality delivery services at the primary health care facilities, plan to Migrate all BHCPF NPHCDA Gateway processes to online ongoing,” she said.

On fund management, the Director said  the agency leveraged information and communications technology to track the status of fund disbursement and overall fund management.

“We also have a clear procedure and published guidelines for managing fraud to ensure that these funds are used as intended,” she said.

She described the report as a step in the right direction.

“You will agree that tracking and monitoring progress and proposing ways to improve is expedient for our health systems,” she said.

Dr Chijioke Kaduru, Member, Supervisory Board, Coronams, in his presentation on the methodology of commissioned ranking of health delivery by the 36 states and the FCT said that money would help Nigerians buy the health that they needed.

Kaduru said that they would not ignore funds from the state level because they were critical to healthcare delivery, adding that it was increasingly important to look at the release of funds and utilisation at the subnational level.

“The minimum health-care packages are intended to serve as the foundation for all states in providing health-care services.

“As a result, the diverse range of stakeholders involved in health must continue to collaborate to provide quality care to their people,” he said.

Dr Phyilis Ogah, a public health practitioner and a nutritionist said that leadership issues were one of the challenges with the disbursement of the BHCPF in the country.

According to Ogah, the good thing is that if these funds are released when approved, Nigerians would have seen improvement.

She said that more engagement with the state and evidence tracker is what all actors should keep pushing for going forward.

The Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Dr Emmanuel Ikechukwu Obi, said that the success in the state was attributed to the enabling environment by the leadership in the state.

Obi suggested that there must be a bridge to understanding the technicalities of health that allows the political class to easily support health care delivery.

“The use of the gateway forum brings together the stakeholders to agree on a common goal that has the people in mind in health care delivery.

“Disseminating the report is one key way to increase discussions about the issues on BHCPF implementation in Nigeria,” he said.

Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch (NHW), said that no one should underestimate the voice of the community.

“We must never underestimate the voices of the communities.

“That is why we are allowing community members to share their experiences accessing health care through our community health watch project in Kano and Niger states,” Ihekweazu said.

Mr Stan Achonu Country Director, One Nigeria, said that one of the key points raised at the event was the need for more collaboration to ensure the vulnerable populations’ inclusion in the country.

Achonu said that stakeholders must agree that providing high-quality healthcare to all Nigerians should be their primary goal.

NAN reports that the BHCPF was established under section 11 of the National Health Act to fund and improve access to primary health care. Amongst other key focus areas.

It is aimed at strengthening the national health system, especially at the PHC level, through the provision of routine daily operation costs for primary health centres.

It also designed to ensure access to health care for all, particularly the poor.

The NPHCDA is responsible for implementing one of the gateways of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund – the ‘NPHCDA Gateway.’

This gateway represents 45 per cent of the BHCPF in line with the National Health Act of 2014.

It ensures operational funding to strengthen the delivery of primary care services, prioritise rural PHC facilities, target indigent Nigerians in the lowest wealth bracket, and serves as a critical step towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

The funding through the NPHCDA Gateway consists of funds for Decentralised Facility Funding (DFF) – primarily to fund essential drugs, vaccines, and consumables and maintain primary healthcare facilities, equipment, and transportation.

It also covers human resources for Primary Health Center interventions especially for midwives and Community Health Influencers and Promoters Agents (CHIPS).

These funds are transmitted through the State Primary Health Care Boards to eligible public primary health centres.

The overall goal of the NPHCDCA Gateway is that one public primary health centre identified from each ward receives funds every quarter and will utilise and report on the funds to facilitate the next disbursement.

These funds set the stage for uninterrupted and improved quality of health care in the country. (NAN)

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