Reps probe over $100m foreign healthcare grant donated to Nigeria

The House of Representatives on Thursday unveiled plans to investigate the utilisation of over $100 million grants received for the implementation of various basic healthcare provision fund in the country.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Shina Peller, who decried the state of the health sector despite the intervention of foreign donors and yearly budgetary allocation.

According to him, whooping sum of $20 million was committed by Global Facility Financing (GFF), $75 million was committed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation over the next 5 years while €60 million was committed by the Department for International Development (DFID) for the implementation of various healthcare initiatives in Nigeria.

According to him, Section 11 of the National Health Act which was enacted in 2014 provides that not less than 1% of Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government be set aside as a grant to finance the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPE or the Fund) which commits the Federal Government to dedicating national resources to improving the lives of all citizens, especially, women and children, to access a high impact and highly cost-effective package of health services, thereby achieving health for all by strengthening institutions and increasing financing for essential health care services.

“The House also notes that the Basic Health Care Provision Fund will fund operational budgets for public primary health care facilities (one per ward), purchase an explicit set of high impact services for all Nigerians address underperformance at the primary care level by removing the barriers to health care.

“The House is aware that the Program will enable Nigerians access services and will be delivered in 22 States, including the FCT in the first instance and will serve as a catalyst to facilitate complete overhaul of the Primary Health Care system in Nigeria.

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According to him, the operational manual of the Fund states that all program funds must be kept in a dedicated account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), consequently, the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and relevant State agencies have all opened accounts with the CBN.

“The House is also aware that 50% of the total amount appropriated has so far been released from the 2018 budget for the program, similarly, the Global Financing Facility and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have contributed $20 million and $2 million grant respectively to the program with other donor agencies also showing interests;

“Over 30 States have formally expressed interests and facility assessments have been carried out, with the release of approximately 50% of the fund.

“The House is worried that in spite of the laudable program and intent of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, the Primary Health Care system of the country is in shambles, infant mortality is on the increase, rate of death at childbirth is still very high in most rural communities and hardly would one find a functional Primary Health care facility in most Local Governments Areas much less the wards.

“The House is further aware that the Global Facility Financing (GFF) has committed $20 million while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will commit up to $75 million over the next 5 years and the Department for International Development (DFID) also committed €60 million to support the program whose goal is to have one functional Primary Health Care (PHC) per political ward in Nigeria,” he stressed.

To this end, the House mandated its Committee on Healthcare Services to investigate the utilization of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and report back within four weeks for further legislative actions.

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