The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has inaugurated companies to conduct performance base verification of health facilities in eight project states.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, presented the engagement letters to eight contract management and verification agents, and three independent verification agents in Abuja.
Shuaib said it was a first time for the Nigeria State Health Investment Project (NSHIP) to have independent verification agents, who would visit health facilities to measure their performances.
He said NPHCDA was using performance base financing system with the support of the World Bank.
According to Shuaib, the independent verification agents will look at some of the indicators the NPHCDA has mapped out in the contract and see if these health facilities are achieving these indicators.
He said, based on the achievements of these indicators, there are some performance based inceptives that are provided to health workers.
“The programme will be conducted in eight states. Within these states, the agency will require large number of verifiers that will go from state to state, and from one health facility to another. When we started the NSHIP programme in 2011, we had international organisations that are doing the verification in Nigeria. In the cause of the last few years, we learnt the processes. There are also indigenous firms that have the expertise and can now do it for us,’’ he said.
Shuaib urged the verifiers to ensure transparency in the processes and stay away from data falsification.
Mrs Binta Sumaila, the National Coordinator of NSHIP, also stressed that the AF-NSHIP was one of the projects supported by the World Bank and that the project would end in 2020.
She said the project aims to improve maternal and child health indices in Nigeria, especially the benefitting states in the country.
Sumaila explained that the AF-NSHIP is the scale up of the parent NSHIP that started in 2011, adding that in the contract management verification; there are two levels of verifications with the first being ex-ante, which is programme done to ensure that services were delivered.
She said the second was a counter verification which would be done by the Independent Verification Agents (VIAs).
According to her, verification is the backbone of performance base financing, explaining that performance base verification pays for result.
“When people perform, then you pay. So, if you don’t confirm these performances, then you are not only wasting resources, but also under the illusion that services were provided, while in the real sense they were not provided. Because of that you have to verify everything a health worker claimed he has done. Not only done, but how he does it, to ascertain the quality of the work,” she said.
NSHIP is a Federal Government project aimed at increasing service delivery, use of high impact maternal and child health interventions, and improving quality of care.
NSHIP uses the concept and principles of Output Financing – providing incentives based on results, especially at the service delivery points in Adamawa, Nasarawa and Ondo states.
The additional financing was approved by the World Bank to scale up to the remaining five Northeast states of Nigeria, including Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.