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They agreed to leverage on the foundation already laid by the USAID-Health Policy Plus to achieve greater performance in Basic Healthcare Provision Fund implementation.
The commitment was an outcome of a one-day brown bag session on Basic Health Care Provision Fund implementation in Ebonyi State held at the Clevero Hotels, Abakaliki on Wednesday.
The meeting, which extensively reviewed challenges and ways forward for BHCPF implementation was organised by the State Ministry of Health with support from USAID-Integrated Health Programme.
Resource persons and participants in the session, drawn from the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Ebonyi State Health Insurance Agency, State Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development; SMLAS and AMURT; Media and Civil Society Organisations shared their experiences, achievements and challenges in BHCPF implementation across the State.
They resolved to collaborate with each other and take advantage of the expanded support from IHP to further improve upon the Fund implementation in the State, especially as it concerns maternal health, new born and other vulnerable groups.
The IHP State Director, Dr. Gladys Olisaeke, and its Knowledge Management Officer, Uchenna Anoke, took turns to intimate participant’s with the role of IHP in healthcare delivery, including health systems upgrade, training and logistics support and health policy consultancy services, among others.
Olisaeke explained: “The goal of IHP in Ebonyi State is to contribute to State level reduction in Child and Maternal morbidity and mortality, and to increase the capacity of health systems (public and private) to sustainably support quality Primary Health Care services.”
Anoke highlighted the objectives of the meeting to include introduction of IHP to partners and stakeholders, to create awareness of Basic health care provision fund among stakeholders in the State, as well as create understanding on the status of BHCPF implementation in the State, especially as it borders on Ebonyi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Ebonyi State Health Insurance Agency and to identify the ways forward.
The Acting Director of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Ogonna Odii, in her presentation, noted that the Agency’s gateway performance rating moved from 58 per cent in 2018 to 90 per cent in 2019 through the support of Government and its partners, including the HP+.
The Executive Secretary of the State Health Insurance Agency, Dr. Doris Chinweoke, represented at the event by Ernestina Igba, explained that the Agency has been consistent in payment of claims to enrolled healthcare facilities for free services to beneficiaries.
Chinweoke refuted the rumours that free maternal, child health, malaria and other covered services have been stopped in enrolled facilities, advising people to continue to access the services free.
Both the SPHCDA and the EBSHIA, however, decried insufficient personnel, logistics problems and funding as their major challenges and appealed to the State Government to give waiver for employment of more health officers and other staff into the agencies.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Achi, represented by the Board Chairman of the SPHCDA, Dr. Uchenna Okoro, expressed optimism that the outcome of the review meeting would further enhance the Basic Healthcare provision fund implementation across the State.
It is expected that the outcome of the meeting would be utilised as resources by the USAID-IHP in its health supportive role and strategies in the State.
Recall that the USAID-IHP was awarded on April 6, 2020 to take up advanced health logistics support in Ebonyi State after the Health Policy plus (USAID-HP+) terminated in 2019.
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