Government upbeat over Basic Healthcare Provision Fund
•Health minister impressed with progress at UNTH, NOHE, FNHE, others
The Federal Government has raised hopes for the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
To accomplish this, the Ministry of Health has announced that it has drawn up a set of guidelines with specific reference to the National Health Act of 2014, alignment with national health policy and following wide-ranging consultations with the relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian healthcare sector.
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, made this announcement when he spoke at a Town Hall meeting in Enugu.
The Minister explained that the guidelines cover the administration, disbursement and monitoring framework for the use of the resources.
“They define the minimum performance standards stakeholders are expected to adopt, implement and comply with to meet stipulations set out in these guidelines. We are currently working towards inclusion of the Fund in 2017.
The resources will be used in strengthening the critical intervention across the service delivery value chain, and therefore lead to an increase in access and use of care.
“For instance, the funds from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NHPCDA) will be disbursed through State Primary Health Care Development Agencies to one primary healthcare centre per ward as identified by each state.
“The primary health care centres would utilize the funds for critical service delivery operations such as community outreaches, improvement of data reporting systems, supportive supervision and procurement of basic commodities. “
He went on: “All disbursements will be done electronically to ensure transparency. Relatedly, funds from the NHIS gateway will be used in purchasing care for pregnant women and infants. Through this, we envision that every Nigerian woman would now have access to free antenatal care and skilled birth delivery. Routine immunization would also be covered.
“Over the last couple of months, several consultations have been carried out to ensure that appropriate feedback is obtained on the guidelines. These consultations are ongoing and will culminate in the presentation of guidelines at the emergency National Council of Health where it will be ratified.”
The National Health Act was enacted in 2014 to ensure improved health outcomes, to provide legal framework for the provision of healthcare services and to establish an organizational and management structure for the health system in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, impressed with the peaceful atmosphere at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State, the visiting health Minister, said chief executives of various organizations in the country should emulate the leadership style of Dr. Chris Amah, the chief medical director of the hospital.
Adewole stated that no organization could achieve progress without peace and unity, stressing that the crowd that welcomed him to UNTH was a practical demonstration that the management team is united, even as he noted that patients who receive treatment under a peaceful atmosphere would heal faster.
According to him “this is my third time of visiting UNTH in the past 15 years as union leader, but this time, the warmth the current Chief Medical Director (CMD) is radiating since my arrival has not been seen anywhere in my visits to other hospitals in the country, and to reward him, funds to enable him to complete some critical projects would be captured in our 2017 budget”.
He, however, told medical directors of National Orthopedic hospital Enugu and Neuropsychiatric hospital Enugu, not to lose hope, as their hospitals would be captured in due course. He also disclosed that UNTH has been selected among 7 hospitals in the country to be designated as specialist centers for the treatment of cancer, while government would continue to encourage its cardiothoracic centre of excellence for open heart surgery adding that 200 cancer machines would soon be delivered to hospitals.
The minster continued: why do we go to India and other countries for treatment, the best place one can receive treatment and recover fast, is within your country where the medical personnel can speak the same language with you, infact, the present administration has vowed to improve the health sector so as to discourage medical tourism among our people”
Adewole called on state governments not to focus only on primary healthcare, but to address general health matters, especially as it concerns maternal mortality which was high at the moment.
Earlier while receiving the minister, the CMD of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Dr. Chris Amah, attributed the progress recorded since his appointment in 2011 to the combined efforts of his management team.
Dr. Amah, said that although, UNTH pioneered open heart surgery in South Saharan Africa in 1974, under late renowned surgeon Prof. Febian Udekwu, and recorded Africa’s first separation of Siamese twins in 1976 under Prof. Nene Obianyo, he restored open heart surgery services in march 2013, after over ten years of inactivity.
The pediatric surgeon stated that after reactivating the cardiothoracic centre of excellence with support from outside the country and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, it has performed over 175 open heart surgeries on adults and children since 2013, which according to him, was higher than the total number performed since the inception of UNTH more than 46 years ago.
He praised the health minister for visiting the hospital despite his busy schedules, saying the gesture showed his commitment to duty and love for UNTH. The minister later visited some departments and wards, including the cardiothoracic centre, where he interacted with some patients and wished them quick recovery.
The chairman of the medical advisory committee, Dr. Obinna Onodugo, the director of finance, Mr. Chukwudi Onuchukwu Chocho, the director of the Post graduate studies, Dr. Linda Oge Okoye, the director of administration, Barr. Simon Nkume, head of Nursing services, Mrs. Chinwe Achukwu, the coordinator post-Basic Peri-Operative, Nursing school, Dr. Nkiru Azike and head, Public Relations, Mr. Cyril Keleze were on law to receive the minister during the visit.
Also, present on the occasion were professors Basden Onwubere, Martin Aghaji and Benedict Anisiuba, all of the cardiothoracic centre, the medical directors of National Orthopaedic hospital Enugu, Dr. Cajetan Nwadinigwe and Dr. Jojo Onwukwe of the Nueropsychiatric hospital, Enugu as well as the Enugu State Commissioner for health, Dr. Sam Ngwu.
Adewole gave further insights about the operations of the Fund.
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