The Federal government has disbursed the sum of N16 billion as Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHPF, to strengthen public health services in June.
Secretary of the Oversight Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, disclosed this in Abuja at a ministerial media conference on the developments in the health sector.
Isokpunwu said about N56 million has so far been disbursed to the states out of the amount, adding that the BHPF fund, inaugurated in 2019, was meant to strengthen public health facilities.
”With those releases, more than 7,000 Primary Health Care centers get operational funds quarterly to provide for essential medicines, transportation for vaccines, and other medical consumables in the health sector.
”It also provided for human resources for health and more than 1,500 midwives have been engaged with the fund”.
Isokpunwu also said the fund was used to maintain the building and infrastructure and equipment in the PHCs.
He added that about 83 per cent of the target had been reached as over 7,500 PHCs had already been reached.
According to him, the fund was also established to strengthen the PHC system, provide a basic minimum package of health services for all Nigerians, especially the poor and indigents, and provide emergency medical treatment.
He said under the fund, sickle cell anemia is covered and patients with the disease would be able to access care free of charge.
On reproductive health, the Director of Family Health, Dr. Salma Kolo, said that more than 3,700 girls were saved from Female Genital Mutilation, FGM, as a result of the awareness campaign that took place in five states – Ebonyi, Imo, Oyo, Ekiti, and Osun.
According to Kolo, there are more than 200 million people, women and girls affected and living with FGM globally and out of these, more than two million are at risk in Nigeria.
She, however, said that to reverse the trend, more than 730,000 men and religious leaders, and traditional leaders have been trained on the negative impact of FGM.
”The boys were also not left behind. Over 800 boys were sensitised and trained so that they could work together as partners to protect their sisters from such criminal practices that happen in our respective communities.
”So the project will also be scaled up to other parts of Nigeria, especially in the northern part,” she said.
She expressed Nigeria’s commitment to the provision of quality access to family planning commodities and services to women of reproductive age group, adolescents, and girls, including men to ensure that the nation has the right size for its families.
“The minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, in collaboration with commissioners from all the 36 states of the federation and all relevant partners, including the civil society organisations, developed a national commitment that is all-encompassing, adopting the bottom-up approach.
”So this was signed, and we are now working on a strategy for implementation.
”We have adopted the balanced scorecard approach to developing that strategy and we have already started engaging with all the key partners to ensure that it is rolled out at all levels, especially at the community level.”
Kolo said that the benefit of the federal government’s commitment to the programme was that there would be a provision of quality family planning commodities and services to Nigerians of reproductive age, both men and women.