The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will commit $75 million to immunisation intervention in Nigeria over the next five years, the philanthropic organisation has pledged.
The country director of the foundation, Paul Bassinga, made the pledge on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (2018-2022) and the roll out of the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Funds.
The event at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa also featured the disbursement of fund to high performing states under the Save One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOML-PforR).
Mr Bassinga said the foundation was impressed with the improvement of immunisation activities in the country and as such will be using the money it pledged to strengthen immunisation, with the expectation that the federal government will honour its commitment to the immunisation basket fund.
Commending Nigeria for its effort in improving immunisation services across the country, he said rigorous investment in the primary healthcare centres in rural area is very crucial to achieving effective immunisation coverage in the country.
“This year marks a significant progress in Nigeria as immunisation rate increased. This is the first year were we have seen improvement even in the rural areas and almost all the states. This shows that when you provide vaccines at the facilities nearest to the people, people will surely go there to receive the services. This is what we are committed to in BMGF, to ensure that vaccines are available and that why we are committing the $75 million for the next five years,” he said.
Mr Basinga said many rural healthcare facilities are not performing efficiently because of challenges ranging from lack of human resources, poor funding and lack of operational services such as laboratories and drugs.
This, he said, makes many people who are meant to use the facilities seek for health care elsewhere at much higher cost.
Mr Bassinga said for this to change, the government needs to provide more resources to funding the health sector, noting that the provision and roll out of the BHCPF is a good way to start.
He said the foundation is committed to the development of the health sector and is the reason it also committed $2 million to the basket fund for the BHCPF, out of which $ 1.5million has been remitted.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, at the event tasked Nigerian governors to be more committed to health care services and delivery in their states.
Speaking on the disbursement of fund to some state governors who performed well in the concluded SOML-PforR programme and on the roll out of the BHCPF, Mr Adewole said for the BHCPF to function and yield the desired results, the governors should put primary health care facilities in their states in order.
Mr Adewole said the only way the states can remain continuous beneficiaries of the programme is when they have functional PHCs, as money will not be disbursed through the state governments.
“We are ensuring that the money goes from the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria directly to the facilities. Any of the contributors such as BMGF, Global Financing facility and other donor partners can also audit the account for accountability to make sure that the money is disbursed to the right channel and used for the right things,” he said.
He said the federal government will not be building new PHCs as state governments are to build new ones and put the existing ones in shape.
“We want governors to put PHCs in shape or build new ones. we will not build PHCs for you and we will not give you the plan on what to build nor will we send contractors from Abuja. We want to avoid a situation where people who have accidents will pay and we want to use this as a gateway to pay for their treatment,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, who represented the Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdul-Aziz Yari, said healthcare delivery is not only for the federal government.
Mr Fayemi said it is appropriate that the states would be asked to speak at the crucial even. “States contribution and acceptance is crucial because health is on the concurrent list in our constitution.”
Mr Fayemi said the state governors are determined to join forces with the federal government to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
Reiterating the level of commitment in some states, Mr Fayemi said the governors forum had worked very closely with the federal government and development partners on issues of polio eradication, malaria prevention, health financing, maternal and child health issues and improving access to all via PHCs.
“We are certainly not tired and we believe in the competition that as been engendered by this and that as been one of the contribution to success in polio eradication. We also know we can not invest in our people if we do not invest in the health of our people and we cannot build the human capital of any nation if we do not focus on the healthcare of the people.
“Our commitment to you will not come in funding, our commitment is that we are determine to ensure that in our state no women should lose a live in the process of child bearing. it is a tall order and we know the indies are not good, but we want to be held accountable on that score.”
Mr Fayemi added that the governors were determine children should stop being victims of opportunistic diseases whether in regards to bad water provision or in regards to inadequate facilities in health institutions. He said the governors are determined to work with the federal government to achieve the plans.