News Update

Anambra Begins Basic Health Care Provision Fund Implementation

   …Registered persons to get  Access to Free Health Care

By Chioma Ndife and Ifeoma Ogbodo

The Anambra State Government has commenced the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, a programme designed by the Federal Ministry of Health to enable indigent Nigerians access free quality health care.

The Executive Director of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, Dr. Simeon B. Onyemaechi, made the disclosure while speaking to journalists about the programme and the method which the state government had adopted to ensure its complete execution.

Onyemaechi said, ‘We have started the basic health care implementation in Anambra State. Anambra State is the first state to start rendering services, just that we started rendering services the same day with Niger State.

‘Every state in Nigeria, according to the dictates of the programme, is expected to get a certain amount of money from the Federal Government as the national Health Act of 2014 provides that 1% of the total revenue fund of the federation would be set aside and be called Basic Health Care Mission Fund.

It would be disbursed to the 36 states of the federation, including FCT, to purchase basic minimum package of health services from primary health centres on the basis of one primary health care center per ward in the entire federation.

‘To access the fund, states are expected to prove their readiness through the payment of counterpart fund of 100 million Naira. Anambra was among the first seven states that paid to indicate readiness for their states to join.

Anambra State got the Health Care Fund in the first pull of states to get the Fund, so we are among the first seven states that started. Some other states have not started because they have not met the criteria that were set out. The other criteria is that the state must have a functional primary health care development agency (which we have), and a state Health Insurance Agency, which is ASHIA.

‘When states receive the 1% revenue from the government, which is about 45 million Naira,  it is shared on the basis that primary health care gets 45%, National health care gets 50% and the remaining 5% is for emergency health care,’ he stated.

Onyemaechi explained that when the fund was received, it was divided according to the number of citizens it could buy free medical care for, noting that those number of persons would be empaneled into the scheme to access the basic package of the Health Care Fund. He revealed that the fund received by the State Fund would be utilized by the health care services of 28, 246 Ndi Anambra who were poor and vulnerable.

‘When we got our money and divided it, what we got was 28, 246 of ndi Anambra who are poor and vulnerable. When we took 326 wards that we have in Anambra, divided 28, 246 by that number, it gave us about 86 persons per ward,’ he revealed.

He noted that the State Health Insurance Agency between through their massive sensitization between January 18th and February 28th, was able to register 86 persons in all the wards across the state. He said that the registered persons would be accessing free health care from the health centres in their various wards.

He assured that ASHIA was working with the State Implementation Agency for the implementation of the Free Health Care as contained in the Basic Health Care Implementation Fund of the federation to 86 members of every ward across the state, stating that ASHIA had presence in all communities in the state.

The ASHIA boss guaranteed beneficiaries of the Programme that they could be referred to a secondary facility if the services they required could not be rendered by their Primary Care Provider. ‘If there is any instance of what the primary health care cannot cater for, we will refer the person to a secondary facility for such services, including surgeries. Unlike ASHIA, where you pay your 12,000 Naira Premium and choose any facility you want, in the basic health care provision fund, you will not choose; a facility will be allocated to you in your own ward .The entire essence is that the federal government wants to give access for the poor and vulnerable who ordinarily visit the primary health care facilities in their various communities,’ he stated.