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FHIS meets with stakeholders on BHCPF
62,000 vulnerable residents to access basic health care minimum package in the FCT

JuL, 2021 |  By David Barau, Olalekan Jimoh and Faustina Inalegwu | ||

The journey towards universal health coverage in the Federal Capital Territory,(FCT), has commenced with a one day stakeholders meeting to review the new Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) operational guidelines. The stakeholders meeting was organized by the FCT Health Insurance Scheme,(FHIS), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and held at the Denis Hotel, Wuse 2, Abuja .

In his opening address, the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Dr. Mohammed Kawu commended the management team of FHIS under the leadership of Dr. Ahmed Danfulani for their committed effort to take the health insurance scheme to a greater height in the FCT. Represented by the Deputy Director, Health Financing of HHSS, Mr. Saliu Mohammad, Dr Kawu expressed his appreciation for a job well-done, "I want to thank you particularly for organizing this stakeholders meeting to review the new operational guidelines of BHCPF in FCT.

This journey has come a long way as we all know that BHCPF was launched three years ago in Kuchigoro where FHIS enrolled more than 40 thousands enrollees for them to access basic health care minimum package. Kawu said after the launching were a lot of campaign and information sent to the grassroot which was followed by the extensive training of the health workers and the members of the communities, adding, "at a point we had a little snag and that was when the National Assembly altered the operationalization of the BHCPF services and following the drafting of the new BHCPF operational guideline, we are gathered here today to again prepare to commence the journey towards universal health coverage.

So, this stakeholders meeting is timely and is very key for us to come together to have extensive discussions about the new BHCPF operational guideline", he said. Kawu further stated that the most important thing was the operationalization. "So,once again let me commend the FHIS for being a trailblazer because FCT is always in the forefront and it is only FCT that has started the programme from inception and gone round to make sure things are done accordingly". The Secretary urged all the stakeholders to ensure they give their full attention so that operational guidelines will be well addressed to operate optimally because the BHCPF is for the poorest of the poor so as to achieve universal health coverage.

Welcoming the participants to the meeting, the Director of FHIS, Dr. Ahmed Danfulani informed them that the purpose of the meeting was to review the new operational guideline of BHCPF, saying; "now that we are about to commence the enrolment across the Six Area Councils of the FCT and as you all know that this programme is for the poorest of the poor and the vulnerable in the territory, we are targeting about 62 thousand lives in FCT which is one thousand lives per political ward for 62 wards across the Six Area Council of FCT".

Danfulani noted that with the implementation of the first guideline, a lot of challenges were noticed and the National Assembly had another look at what the National Health Insurance Act says. The committee was set up by the Federal Ministry of Health which made the practicability of this BHCPF very easy and straightforward. He said notably among the differences were that the old guidelines accommodated only children, pregnant women and the elderly while the new one allowed wider coverage, adding, "In the old guideline you could walk into a Primary Health Centre and be enrolled but now a beneficiary can be enrolled with their NIN number making it digital enrollment.

Dan Fulani further informed that in the old guideline there was no secondary care provision but now primary health care can refer the beneficiary to the secondary facilities and "that is why we have quite a number of Medical Doctors here because it is not going to be small benefit package for malaria and fever, it now cuts across all ailments and that gives the beneficiary the benefit to enjoy secondary care also".

On how the poor and vulnerable who do not have the NIN will benefit from the package, the FHIS director explained that the agency will provide them with NIN and that is "why we are partnering with the National Identity Management Commission,(NIMC), so as to have the capability to be able to generate NIN for them. Also, we are partnering with the FCT Social Safety Net where the data for the poor and vulnerable in FCT are domiciled. We are going to engage the traditional rulers and religious leaders in the selection process so we will not limit ourselves to only the registration from the social office".

He warned all accredited facilities that needed to put things in place to do so without delay. Reports from various committees like the accreditation committee were presented and discussed at the meeting. Stakeholders present at the BHCPF engagement meeting included representatives of USAID, NHIS, all the Directors of Primary Health Care across the six area councils, representatives of FCT Primary Health Care Board, medical doctors, service providers and other health workers.

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