The Federal Government has disbursed about N15 billion to health insurance agencies of some states in the country.
The disbursement, which commenced on Tuesday, was the first phase of the Basic Health Care Provision Funds.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora; and the Executive Director of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Professor Mohammed Sambo, disbursed the funds at an event in Abuja.
It was discovered from documents obtained at the event that the first tranche of the funds was shared among15 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
States who got a share of the funds were Edo (N301m), Kastina (N636m), Yobe (N270m), Delta (N394m), Lagos (N672m), Adamawa (N342m), Kano (N948m), Anambra (N338m), Imo (N301m), Kaduna (N552m), Bauchi (N530m), Bayelsa (N116m), Ebonyi (N230m), Oyo (N449m), Plateau (N337m) and the FCT (N118m).
Speaking at the event, Ehanire said the event was a historic one in government’s efforts to improve the quality of life of Nigerians.
“It is our plan and desire that this fund will be judiciously utilised by the benefiting states which will in turn reduce the hardship experienced by many Nigerians who daily pay through out of pocket as a result of ill health.
“The Universal Health Coverage remained a top priority on the global agenda and an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals which many nations, including Nigeria, were pursuing vigorously for the benefit of their citizens.
“As you are aware, the government of Nigeria in 2014 signed the National Health Act into law in response to the poor health outcomes. This important legislation provides for the earmarking of not less than one per cent of the consolidated revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians.
“Regrettably, this fund was not appropriated for the commencement of the implementation of the programme until the 2018 fiscal year. However, with the needed ‘political will’, this government has commenced the release of the funds for the provision of much needed health services to all Nigerians, especially the vulnerable populations.
“It is important to note that in the NHIS gateway, the NHIS through the State Health Insurance Schemes will purchase a basic minimum package of health-care services for all participating Nigerians,” he said.