FG Okays Disbursement Of N12.9bn Health Care Provision Fund

Ali Pate
The Federal Government, on Thursday, approved the disbursement of N12,911 billion through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

The amount represents the 2023 fund for one quarter, to be utilised in the third quarter of 2024.

This is according to the 2020 BHCPF guideline, pending the review of the new guideline.

Muhammad Ali Pate, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, disclosed this at the 7th meeting of the BHCPF Ministerial Oversight Committee in Abuja.

In March 2024, the Nigerian government authorised the disbursement of N25 billion through the BHCPF across the States of the Federation.

The allocated funds were earmarked for direct facility financing and workforce incentives across States.

Available data from the BHCPF and the Africa Health Budget Network shows that from 2019 to 2022, funds disbursed through BHCPF summed up to an estimated N89 billion.

Only 7,250 out of the 35,514 Primary Healthcare Centres in the country are currently benefiting from the BHCPF, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Pate said that in line with Nigeria’s Health Sector Renewal Initiative and President Bola Tinubu’s approval for a Sector-Wide Approach, urgent comprehensive reforms were being undertaken to improve BHCPF.

“A sub-committee set up by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare during the 5th Ministerial Oversight Committee (MOC) meeting in late 2023, is leading these reforms.

“Key developments include: Ongoing review of the BHCPF Guideline, with proposed reforms for the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) already approved in March 2024.

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“A thorough assessment has revealed significant flaws in the implementation of BHCPF, prompting all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to commit to immediate corrective measures.

“The MOC has approved the release of ₦25 billion to key health agencies to prevent disruption of services while awaiting the new guideline by the third quarter of 2024,” he explained.

He said that these reforms aimed to better align resources and improve health outcomes, such as increased antenatal coverage, skilled birth attendance, immunisation rates, and overall health insurance coverage in Nigeria.

The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Muyi Aina, said that two memos were submitted and approved by the MOC.

“The first memo, jointly presented by the NCDC Gateway and EMT Gateway, outlined proposed reforms.

“These reforms focus on programmatic improvements at both state and national levels, as well as fiduciary interventions to ensure proper resource utilisation.

“The second memo focused on the disbursement of N12.9 billion across all states for the third quarter, following a previous approval and disbursement of N25 billion for the first two quarters,” he said.

Aina said that these reforms and disbursements were part of ongoing efforts to implement the Sector-Wide Approach and government reforms, aimed at improving coordination and resource efficiency across various gateways.

He stressed the need to improve the quality of primary health centres across states, utilising resources from both state funding and external sources like World Bank loans.

“We have conducted assessments with the National Health Insurance Authority and states to identify facility gaps and prioritise improvements.

“The focus now is on working closely with each state to sequence the refurbishment of these facilities, starting with those most urgently in need of support,” he said.