By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos.
Bauchi State Government has been applauded for being the only government in Nigeria to commit up to 15 per cent of annual budget to healthcare financing.
A host of health sector advocacy and activist groups made the commendation while brainstorming on crucial issues on healthcare delivery system in the country at a conference in Lagos.
”Bauchi State commit 16 per of its annual budget to health sector,” announced Ms Aanu Rotimi, Programme Advisor, Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON/Partnership Advocacy for Childcare and Family Health (PACFaH).
Fifteen years ago all African governments made a commitment in Abuja to increase health spending to 15 per cent of their national budget.
In Nigeria only 4.37 per cent of the national budget was allocated to health in 2016, while 4.17 per cent was the federal allocation to health in 2017.
Romiti was sad that that the three stages of funding, namely: allocation, release and utilization are poorly and inefficiently treated by the government in Nigeria.
Inadequate budgetary allocation for healthcare delivery, she lamented, causes rising morbidity and mortality rates.
“Appropriate allocation, prompt release and value for money utilization of health funds are important, and not just mere reduction in MMR (maternal mortality rate), U5Mr (under-5 mortality rate) and IMR (infant mortality rate, which although are expected ultimate results, but can be transient till an assured funding, much more transparent utilization and ownership are available,” she declared.
She insisted that stakeholders have to collaborate in the quest to achieve appropriate appropriation of fund for healthcare delivery spending.
Rotimi said that partnership of sectoral stakeholders has become imperative in order to hold government accountable on its commitment to healthcare delivery funding.
“Advocating improved outcomes,” the advocate explained, “is a role for all stakeholders in which health journalists are critical stakeholders.
According to her, reports on health-related matters do not receive front page banner headlines nor cover pages as the deserve.
The PACFah/HERFON chief impressed it upon government that it is high time it honoured the Abuja Declaration that 15 per cent of the country’s annual budget has to be allocated to health.
She summoned the civil society organizations to “remind government to honour her various commitments on health financing such as the Abuja Declaration, Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 3c; National Health Act that says one per cent of Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) will go to health, Declaration of African Ministers of Health, Finance, Education, Social Affairs; Local Governments Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa in Addis Ababa (2016) and the London 2012 Family Planning Blueprint.”