The Federal Government has concluded plans to create a Basic Health Care Provision Fund to enable citizens to access free medicare at the local level irrespective of their ages.
Mr Dasuki Arabi, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), disclosed this in an interview in Abuja.
Arabi said: “The fund is a creation of the Federal Government; it is a special account where a percentage of the national budget is being paid into to support basic healthcare facilities in all states of the federation”.
He explained that the fund was aimed at upgrading basic health care facilities in all the 774 local governments of the federation.
“If the facilities have been upgraded; drugs and everything in there, every person that is ill can access the facility regardless of whether you are a retiree, old or young.
“You will access healthcare as long as you are in the local community where the facility is and it is free.
“We did some research work before this time on waiting time to see a doctor and that is after we have considered and seen the problems that people faced before they access health care services.
“So, we worked with DFID and the Ministry of Health to go round the entire federation and see what are the problems, challenges and issues.
“And we collectively agreed on a framework to change the approach and how patients are treated and to make it easy for them to have access to doctors, medicare in all federal health institutions.
“We are glad that the recommendations are being implemented by the ministry, it has even gone beyond what we have done to improve on that.”
According to him, COVID-19 had made the country know that healthcare was almost zero, “hence, the reason for setting up the basic healthcare provision fund”.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari and the government were so kind to have compelled the bureau to do its constitutional work.
Arabi said that the present government had set the record of paying the first amount of the contribution into the account.
“And it is compulsory for government to pay that percentage into that special account.
“We equally noticed that the states are not initially being able to access the funds, some because of reasons of coordination at the national level and some,l because of other things that they are facing.
“Then, we came up with the idea to encourage the state governments to access the funds, we brought the stakeholders together to understand themselves, to address the issues and challenges they have been facing.
Arabi said that a conference would soon be held on the basic health care provision fund to be chaired by the president.
“And all the governors, the commissioners of finance and all the key players around the basic healthcare provision fund will be at the conference.
“The National Health Insurance Scheme, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Ministry of Health and the development partners that have been working around basic healthcare provision fund will be there.
“The bureau has the mandate to ensure that all reform initiatives are implemented, we monitor and we report.
“So, what we are doing is an intervention to bring the stakeholders together, encourage them to do what is right so that Nigerians will benefit from that initiative,” he explained.
Arabi said that there was advocacy for retirees and the elderly to be included in the National Health Insurance Scheme, adding that the relevant agencies were working on the plan.
He noted that the Federal Government had created an agency for the elderly persons to adequately cater for their welfare. PM News Nigeria