Kuni Tyessi, Abuja
National Advocates for Health (NA4H) has called on the federal government to fully release 100 per cent of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and to disburse it timely to all 36 states, including the federal capital territory in line with the provision of the law and its operational manual.
The Chairman of NA4H, Professor Dapo Ladipo who made the call at the launch of the BHCPF and Global Financing Facility (GFF) performance scorecard of January to December 2018 reiterated the need for the 2019 health budget estimates to be increased from four per cent to at least 7.5 per cent.
Ladipo advocated for the National Assembly to strengthen their oversight function in order for the Nigerian government to improve her budget performance.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should direct the minister of finance to release the entire 55.1 billion naira of the 2018 Basic Health Care provision fund to ensure its takeoff and disbursement to all the states.
“The performance score card of the BHCPF and GFF for January to December 2018 revealed that the basic health care provision fund is not captured in any section of the National Approved budget, while dedicated National BHCPF is not yet created in Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The scorecard further revealed that for transparency and accountability purpose, the disbursement of the Basic Health Care provision fund is not yet published in any newspaper.”
Another advocate, Dr Aminu Magashi said the civil society organisation engagement strategy is not yet developed while an auditor is yet to be appointed.
The National Advocates for Health is a 26 member policy and advocacy think tank group that seeks to ensure adequate budgetary allocation for health, timely disbursement and spending of health budget in an efficient, transparent and accountable manner.
The group has a seat representing Civil Society organisation in the National Steering Committee of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, its highest decision-making body with the minister of health as the chair.