Five states Lock Horns with FG Over Health Care Funds

 Five states Lock Horns with FG Over Health Care Funds

Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has blamed the deplorable state of tertiary health institutions in the country on the inability of state governors to fund basic primary and secondary health facilities under their respective care.

Adewole, who stated this at the Senate plenary on Tuesday, said state governments had “literally abandoned” health care.

He also accused 14 states including Sokoto, Ogun, Cross River, Benue and Rivers of refusal to embrace the Basic Health Care Provision Fund which would have enabled them to access the N55.15bn earmarked for primary health care in the country.

The National Assembly had earmarked N55.15bn in the 2018 budget as one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the BHCPF.

Health experts have lauded the National Assembly’s approval of the BHCPF in the 2018 Appropriation Act.

But to access the fund, state governments must deposit N100m in a dedicated account at the Central Bank as counterpart fund and must have their own health insurance scheme law among other conditions.

But Sokoto, Cross River, Ogun and Benue states said the Federal Government’s alleged politicisation of the health policy was responsible for their inability to access the fund.

They argued that the choice of beneficiaries for the health care fund was allegedly skewed in favour of states in the good book of the Federal Government.

At the plenary, Adewole explained what his ministry was doing to address the terrible conditions of the Federal Government-owned teaching and specialist hospitals across the country.

The minister, who answered questions from the senators, however, said the inability of the state governments to pay adequate attention to health issues had overwhelmed the federal health institutions and the specialists there.

He lamented that Nigerians no longer had confidence in the primary and secondary health care centres, hence their preference for tertiary facilities which were set up to take care of referral cases only.

Adewole commended the federal lawmakers for approving the BHCPF which he described as a game changer in the nation’s health sector.

He, however, regretted that about one year after the 2018 budget was signed into law, 14 states had yet to embrace the BHCPF which would have enabled them to access the N55.15bn earmarked for primary health care in the country.

The minister stated, “The states have literally abandoned healthcare such that everything is handled by the Federal Government. We cannot succeed with this.

“What we have done through your support, and I must commend you for approving the healthcare basic fund, it is a game changer. We have spent almost a year developing the guidelines and over the last weeks, we have started a roll-out and as at the last count, 22 states have registered for the basic healthcare provision fund.

Ayomide Oyewole

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.