Nigeria’s National Basic Health Care Provision Fund Makes Significant Strides
May 2020 —
In December, with support from the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project, two Nigerian states—Ebonyi and Osun—passed a series of state-level bills legalizing state health insurance schemes. The bills’ passage marks an important milestone for Nigeria’s national Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) by establishing the necessary structures for the fund’s rollout at the state level. HP+ and other partners also secured government approval of the BHCPF’s previously stalled Operations Guidelines, unlocking US$150 million in appropriated funds. Once in place, the BHCPF will substantially improve Nigerians’ access to high-quality healthcare, especially among the poor. In addition, HP+ successfully advocated for the inclusion of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as one of the states to benefit from initial implementation of the fund, along with Abia, Edo, Katsina, Osun, and Yobe.
Project-supported States Achieve High Marks in Basic Health Care Provision Fund Performance Scorecard
December 2019 —
In Nigeria, HP+ has been working to support implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF)—a critical health reform aimed at improving and expanding high-quality, affordable, accessible primary healthcare services to all Nigerians. This month, the first-ever BHCPF scorecard, intended to showcase state-level readiness and initial implementation of one of the key sources of federal-level funding for the BHCPF, was rolled out. The evaluation revealed that, of all 24 states assessed, only three (Abia, Osun, and the Federal Capital Territory)—all of which were supported by HP+—met all of the requirements. A fourth HP+-supported state (Ebonyi) met all but one requirement. The scorecard assessed whether proper structures were put in place to accept federal-level funds for implementation, facility baseline assessments were conducted, and a significant cascade of facility-level trainings on BHCPF implementation were completed. HP+ support to this effort is critical, as the project has worked to improve institutional capacity and facility-level readiness to implement a ground-breaking health reform, that if successful, could significantly move the needle towards achieving universal health coverage goals in Nigeria.
Nigerian State First to Launch Enrollment into Basic Health Care Provision Fund
June 2019 —
On May 3, Osun State—one of three states supported by HP+ in Nigeria—became the first state in the country to begin enrollment of clients into the national Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), the federal government’s initiative to provide the rural poor with a basic package of health services. Along with the achievement of this milestone, the state will receive approximately US$2.5 million over the next nine months—delivered directly to selected primary healthcare facilities to support the delivery of high-quality health services. HP+ has supported Osun State to pilot the BHCPF for the last three months in preparation for the scheme’s statewide roll-out. “The learning from the pilot program will influence what will happen moving forward,” said HP+ Nigeria Country Director Onoriode Ezire to government officials at the launch. “We hope that, beyond the launch, access will be improved, and we will continue to address maternal and infant mortality in the state,” he added.
Nigeria’s Senate Passes Health Insurance and Primary Health Care Board Bills – Leap Forward for Health Coverage for all
May 2019 —
Nigeria’s Federal Capitol Territory (FCT) is a major step closer to accessing resources for primary health care with the passage of a previously stymied law. Bolstered with evidence gathered with support from USAID through the Health Policy Plus project and capacity development of advocates and FCT leadership, the FCT secured sponsorship of the health insurance and primary health care board bills at the National Assembly and have been able to advance the bills through the stages of the legislative process. Concurrence and presidential assent, the final stages of the process, will open the door for the FCT to access the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), a national and state-level mechanism that will extend health insurance coverage, and a range of free services, not only to those in the public and formal private sector, but also to the vulnerable – pregnant women, children under 5-years old, persons with disabilities, and the elderly – and those in the informal sector, for whom access and the ability to pay for primary health care was a barrier. State-by-state health reform has been advancing to secure the systems and legal backing needed to access the BHCPF, while the FCT had been delayed until now. With this advancement, access to the fund is expected to reduce maternal and under-5 mortality rates and reduce financial hardship resulting from medical costs. Momentum around the BHCPF in Nigeria increased significantly last year with approved funding under the 2018 national budget. HP+ supported FCT leadership through each step of the legislative process, which it will continue to provide as the bill moves forward for concurrence and authorization by the President of Nigeria.