The Basic Healthcare Provision Fund was flagged off in Plateau state on Wednesday, 31 March 2021, as the program intends to start issuing cards to over 28000 beneficiaries from the 1st of April, 2021.
Lalong who was represented by his deputy Prof Sonnie Tyoden said “Already, we have completed abandoned hospitals in Riyom, Kanke and Langtang South Local Governments which will soon be commissioned.
In his words” There is no doubt that out-of-pocket payments for health services have been considered a highly regressive method of healthcare financing globally and it greatly deepens inequity in access to healthcare.
As of today, it constitutes over 70% of the methods of healthcare financing in Nigeria. The inequity in access negatively affects the poor and vulnerable among us to a greater proportion. This is because at their point of seeking healthcare, they are squeezed between seeking the care that they need and meeting other basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
Operating at such a low financial level has a propensity to tilt them towards choosing other needs rather than healthcare. Such a delay in seeking care can increase the incidence of complications and mortality. Thus, poverty magnifies the predicament that ill-health places on them.
This has over time led to unnecessary deaths among our citizens and has placed Nigeria low in health rankings globally. There is no doubt that out-of-pocket has immensely decelerated Nigeria’s aspiration to attaining Universal Health Coverage.
The Governor said that “The creation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) through the National Act 2014 and its subsequent operationalization by the current administration signifies Nigeria’s commitment more than ever to the realization of Universal Health Coverage.”
“Indeed, this yearning of ensuring that all citizens of Nigeria wherever they live are able to access the quality healthcare that they need – whenever they need it – without being subjected to financial hardship is viewed by the Rescue Administration as not just a fundamental human right but also a noble task that governments across the federation should embrace and invest in.
Lalong further said that The BHCPF, an invaluable initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria has laid a solid foundation for our goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage. The creation of the Plateau State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (PLASCHEMA) as an implementing institution of the NHIS gateway in Plateau State in the year 2019 presented the Government of Plateau State an opportunity to benefit from the laudable initiative.
This Agency is also structured to entrench a more progressive system of health care financing in the State. Together with the Plateau State Primary Health Care Board, the bedrock of the health system solidly in place, I can say without an iota of doubt that Plateau State has commenced the journey to attaining Universal Health Coverage.
Among other things, the BHCPF seeks to reduce to the barest minimum out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare; increase fiscal space for healthcare; as well improve the life expectancy of the citizens of Plateau State. With this social investment leaning in the direction of providing succor for the poor and vulnerable population, the Rescue Administration strongly subscribes to it.
Already, 2% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the State and the 17 Local Governments is being set aside as Equity Fund by Law. This is a deliberate effort by the government towards achieving Universal Health Coverage and contributing to the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
This has tremendously increased the fiscal space for health in the State in a greatly sustainable manner through legislation. With this increased expenditure on health in Plateau State and the provision of premiums by the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, it is our undying hope that maternal mortality rates will precipitously decline, and our children will no longer die from preventable childhood illnesses through robust immunization, provision of vaccines, essential medicines and management of these ailments at the Primary Healthcare Centres.
He also said that The Plateau State Government will ensure appropriate and strict management of the BHCPF in accordance with the provisions of its establishing Act and operational guidelines. This will justify the confidence reposed on the State Government by the Federal Government and donor agencies.
ith the Covid-19 pandemic and dwindling resources, this initiative has come to help the government of Plateau State increases the fiscal space for health generally; health system strengthening, particularly at the Primary Health Care level, and ensuring access to healthcare for Nigerians particularly the poor, thereby contributing to overall national productivity. It is, therefore, only pertinent that the resources committed to this course are utilized efficiently and with results to show.
In conclusion, the launch of the BHCPF today marks a boost to our journey towards ensuring equity and reduction of inequality in use and access to health services particularly among the most vulnerable group who live with us. It is our concrete belief that this initiative will lift the people of Plateau State out of poverty and guarantee access to quality health services across the 325 PHCs accredited, one in each of the 325 State Wards and other private Primary and Secondary health care facilities across the seventeen Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
Also, Governor Simon Lalong reaffirmed that his administration remains committed to completing all the hospitals being constructed under the Lalong Legacy Projects across the three senatorial districts.