World Bank to Nigeria: Decentralise Funds to Healthcare Facilities

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    Martins Ifijeh

    The World Bank Group has called on the Nigerian government to decentralise and disburse basic healthcare funds down to facilities where they are needed, while operating budgets should be given to the people actually doing the work.

    At the third THISDAY Healthcare Policy Dialogue held in Abuja recently, the Chief of Health, Nutrition and Population, World Bank Group, Washington DC, Benjamin Loevinsohn, who made this disclosure said for Nigeria to beat the poor healthcare indices presently experienced, it should decentralise facility financing and act through Performance Based Financing (PBF).

    In his presentation on ‘Achieving UHC in Nigeria – How to Support States’, he said, “Nigeria should implement extensively the Basic Health Care Provisions Fund (BHCPF), and ensure mechanisms are put in place to track fund usage and the successes coming out of the disbursement. This way we can achieve better result.”

    He said in addition to decentralising facility financing, the government can address primary healthcare issues through the reward system put in place for states that have improved in the coverage of healthcare services and quality of care.

    He said: “The Saving One Million Lives Performance for Reward (SOMLPforR) is a tool to addressing many of the basic healthcare issues in the country. With states rewarded for improvement from their own baseline, they would strive to get better than their former performances.”

    He explained that the performance is measured independently using the SMART Survey done by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and NBS, adding that the performance is referred to as the sum of immunisation, vitamin A, long lasting insecticide treated net use by children under five years, skilled birth attendance, HIV testing during antenatal care, among others.

    While nothing that states should have considerable autonomy in how they use the basic healthcare funds, he said the philosophy behind the SOMLPforR would prevent distractions and keep them focused on achieving the key indicators.