- PUNCH LINE
The Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has announced that the Government of Nigeria is committed to ensuring that all Nigerians, particularly the women, children and adolescents facing some of the most challenging circumstances in most challenging places have access to basic health and nutrition services that they need without becoming poorer by paying for them.
The Minister made this known in recently, at a forum put together by the Government of Nigeria, the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and Partners, in Abuja, to co- finance efforts towards improving the health and Nutrition of the poorest Women, children and Adolescent in the country.
In his words, Adewole said, ‘The GFF has created a new sense of awareness that we must put our money on the table for these essential investments in our people and use them in even smarter ways and that is something that has not been done before’
The Minister further explained that Nigeria being the most populous country in Africa was facing big challenges: Nigeria is the single largest contributor to the global annual number of mortality rate; infant and child mortality rates are unacceptably high; total fertility rates have remained stubbornly high and has worsened nutrition outcomes in children as well as immunization rates, especially among the poorest children.
To this end, the Minister regretted that, those challenges had hugely outpaced government spending on health and nutrition, coupled with government spending in recent years being unable to reach those who needed them most and doing little to reduce high and impoverishing out –of-pocket spending on health by poor Nigerians.
To this end, Adewole maintained that the grant from the GFF would co finance early implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) with funds mobilised from the government and other contributors, starting in three states: Abia, Niger and Osun.
Following the start-up phase, the Minister revealed that Nigerian Government would provide most of the financing for the scale-up to the remaining 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory.