By Yusuf Abdullahi, Abuja.
The Federal Government on Tuesday commenced the dis-bursement of the first phase of Basic Health Care Provision Funds to the State Health Insurance Agencies estimated at N15 billion.
The disbursement was flagged off by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora and Executive Director of National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Mohammed Sambo.
Documents obtained by journalists during the event held in Abuja indicated that 15 states and the Federal Capital Territory would be beneficiaries of the first tranche of the money.
Out of the amount, a total of N6.5 billion would be disbursed to the 15 states and FCT.
The recipients are Edo, FCT, Katsina, Yobe, Delta, Lagos, Adamawa, Kano, Anambra, Imo, Kaduna, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Oyo and Plateau States.
While Kano State had the highest amount of N948.4 million, the FCT got N118 million.
The benefitting states were Edo (N301 million), Kastina (N636 million), Yobe (N270 million), Delta (N394 million), Lagos (N672 million), Adamawa (N342 million), Kano (N948 million), Anambra (N338), Imo (N301 million), Kaduna (N552 million), Bauchi (N530 million), Bayelsa (N116 million), Ebonyi (N230 million), Oyo N449 million), Plateau (N337 million) and FCT (N118 million).
Under the arrangement, the BHCPF would be administered through three gateways, namely the NHIS, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health.
Ehanire described the event as a historic moment in the quest by the government to improve the quality of life of Nigerians, especially in the area of health which is interlinked with socio-economic development.
According to him, the first of the money was disbursed to 15 states and the FCT which had satisfied the eligibility criteria as of February 2019.
He said that other states which have satisfied the eligibility criteria would be accommodated as the fund was meant for all Nigerians.
The Minister said, “It is our plan and desire that this fund will be judiciously utilized by the benefiting states which will, in turn, reduce the hardship experienced by many Nigerians 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.”