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Nigeria mulls affordable health care for citizens

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Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Federal Government has sealed a deal with the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and other partners to co-finance a course that would herald significant improvement in Nigeria’s healthcare system as well as nutrition of women, children and adolescent in Nigeria.

The Federal Government disclosed that GFF proposed $47 million investment in Nigeria, linked to $350 million in funding from the International Development Association (IDA) and the World Bank, with focus on improved health care services in North East.

Minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, in a statement, on Thursday, by Director, media and public relations, Boade Akinola, admitted that local and international indications confirmed that Nigeria ranked high in mortality rate, infant and child mortality, high fertility rates and malnutrition in children.

Adewole regretted that the challenges have hugely outpaced government spending on health and nutrition, coupled with other spending in recent years being unable to reach the target people and communities.

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He said that GFF which is a multi-stakeholder partnership with support from Governments of Canada, UK, Denmark, Japan, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Norway, has helped developing countries tackle greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women and children.

The Minister was optimistic that the grant will be used to facilitate early implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), with funds mobilized from the government and other contributors, starting with three states: Abia, Niger and Osun.

Meanwhile, the GFF Director, Mariam Claeson, in her remarks, said that Nigeria’s commitment to financing health and nutrition was a beacon for other countries, as they work closely with the GFF to ensure the investment lasted for years to come.

Similarly, the World Bank Country Manager for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, said the Government of Nigeria, with the support of the GFF, the World Bank and other partners have joined forces to catalyze real change for the people of Nigeria.

He was hopeful that the investment in human capital will yield dividends in lives saved and improved, and also help build a stronger and more prosperous economy.

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