News Column

FG Borrows N28.6bn Incentive Money to Finance Health

February 13, 2014

Judd-Leonard Okafor & Safiyyah Abdur-Razaq

Federal Government has launched a $171.5 million project (nearly N28.6billion) to finance health that will see states, councils, hospitals and healthworkers get paid for delivering results.

Funding for the National State Health Investment Project to last five years comes as international borrowing--$150 million from the World Bank and $21.5 million from Britain and Norway.

NSHIP, the new performance-based financing model for health, hopes to pay incentives on basis of targets as proportion of children fully immunized, number of births attended by skilled health providers, number of outpatient visits by children aged under five, proportion of project beneficiaries who are female, and how health facility score on average quality of care.

Health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the project under pilot in Nasarawa, Ondo and Adamawa targets making "every stakeholder a shareholder."

"It shows health services can be made responsive to the health needs of people," he noted at the launch of NSHIP in Abuja on Thursday.

The three states were chosen for the project in hopes of reaching a target population of 9.4 million people, according to the World Bank, but the project could roll out nationwide in future.

The Bank's country director for Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly said the states are "leading the way for others, using performance management techniques and increased incentives to health workers to boost the quality and uptake of health services."

She said the states could show "how public money can be invested more smartly" to get closer to Millennium Development Goals.

The pilot NSHIP saw some 6,500 children fully immunized, 11,600 deliveries in facilities and more than 205,000 outpatient visits.

On account of the pilot, uptake of family planning in Adamawa state increased from under one percent to more than 40%, said Jalil Abdullahi, chairman of Adamawa's primary healthcare development agency.

Dayo Adeyotun, health commissioner for Ondo, which pioneered a project that budgeted N5,000 per woman in health care cost from pregnancy to delivery, said NSHIP was about migrating from "input financing to output," calling it the "only way there can be support for performance."

"We have been talking about input, input, input, but not about getting results," said Janet Akpaso, executive director for Nasarawa state primary health care development agency.

In one of three interventions, facilities will freely decide how they use up to 50% of the funds they earn for operational costs, maintenance, drugs and enhance quality.

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Source: AllAfrica

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