By Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has approved immediate payment of N282m in counterpart funding to deepen access to primary healthcare, health insurance and nutrition of children under three years.
The Two Hundred and Eighty-Two million Naira includes; N100m counterpart funds for Basic Healthcare Provision Funds (BHPV); N50m for Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRIN); and another N82m to access global grants for malaria.
A statement from the Governor’s office said the release of the counterpart funds for BHPV would enable Kwara access to the World Bank/Nigerian Government’s grant to cater for health needs of pregnant and nursing women and children.
“Access to such funds will help combat maternal mortality rate and other basic health challenges related to women and children. Apart from this, the funds will help to fix facilities for primary health care and reduce the pressure on secondary and tertiary health institutions,” the statement said.
It said the counterpart funds for ANRIN would grant Kwara access to donor funds to boost nutrition needs of children, in what is a practical step to end the menace of stunting and wasting among young children.
UNICEF says children who are victims of malnutrition are at risk of early death or becoming liabilities to the society as they are unable to cope in school or contribute to economic growth.
“Experts have decried malnutrition rate among children in the North Central, where Kwara falls. Because these children are so key to the bright future that this Governor envisions for Kwara, it is important to urgently key into any initiative that would boost their nutrition and give them a brighter chance at life.
“The N82m counterpart funding for malaria is to ensure that Kwara also benefits from Global Funds set aside by donor agencies to combat malaria,” the statement reads.
The release of the counterpart funding for healthcare on Monday came almost simultaneously with the payment of the N450m Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) which the agency insisted was diverted by the last administration. That diversion had led to the blacklisting of the state from the funds meant to boost access to primary health care, according to UBEC officials.