Journalists charged to hold governments responsible for health funds

Gloria Essien


Nigerian journalists have been advised to hold government accountable for proper disbursement of the Basic Healthcare provision Fund.


The Coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network, Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, made the call at a sensitization workshop for Members of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, in Abuja.


He noted that the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund needs to be made to work for Nigerians through proper monitoring.


He urged journalists to through their reportage, track the funds so far released by the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.


“This money has been disbursed to the three agencies, the National Health Insurance Scheme, National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. More money will be disburse in August and September. We were also informed that another 25 per cent has already been allocated to the account of the federal ministry of health. We need to track this monies before they become free monies for governors”. Dr. Magashi said.


He therefore requested the agencies to inform the public on how they have utilized the funds for the benefit of the ordinary people.


“It is a big shame that most PHCs lack good conveniences for both staff and patients. The money for NCDC should be used for emergencies preparedness for disease outbreak so the Heads of agencies should not complain about lack of funds,” he said.


On her part, the Chief Executive Officer, Vaccine Network, Ms Chika Offor, said that the money meant for the public must be made to  work for the Nigerian people.


She said that it wa necessary for all health agencies to carry out their statutory roles to in improving the health of Nigerians.


“The role of each agency of health is well pointed out. So, the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund must work for the Nigeria people.” she said.


In his remarks, the president of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists ANHEJ, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, said that with constant capacity building, Nigerian journalists would send out better stories.


“I wish to assure you that we will do our best to keep track of happening in the health sector”. He said.


The Basic Health Care Provision Fund is a  fundamental provision under the National Health Act but it was only appropriated in 2018 for the first time since the Act was signed in 2014.