By Titilope Fadare
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Lanre Tejuosho, has announced that the 1 percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the country, added to the health budget for 2018, costs N57.1 billion.
This money is targeted at improving Primary Health Care centres, especially for vulnerable persons in the country.
Tejuosho also noted that toll-free lines would be provided for people to file complaints concerning the centres as this will help in monitoring exercises.
He also pointed out that the fund will go directly to the health centres and not through the Federal Government because “we want the Primary health care centre to operate more like private health institutions.”
This provision is a part of the Basic Health Provision Package (BHCPF) contained in the 2014 Health Act, passed during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
It is worthy to note that that the 2018 appropriation bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari in November last year did not accommodate this provision.
However, he indicated that the committee “had meeting with several ministers and the Vice President before reaching a conclusion on this.”
In an interview with selected journalists, the Chairman also added that the National Assembly would deliberate on a National Health Insurance bill.
Talking about the National Health Insurance bill, the Chairman said it was imperative to deliberate on it because the bill, if passed, would “ensure that every Nigerian puts something into National health insurance and every Nigerian would be able to go to any clinic and would have basic health [care].”
Explaining further, he said: “At least 100 million Nigerians can afford N200 every month to put into this NHIS, which is about N20 billion naira a month, in a year it is about N240 billion, it is much more than the health budget of the last five years. We have about 200 million Nigerians, we are targeting 100 million, people that cannot afford let’s say 60 million, we can still [give them] the same service.”