Group decries 2018 budgetary allocation to health

 

LAIDE AKINBOADE

A group has decried the 2018 budgetary allocation to the health sector, saying the growth in the national budget is not reflected in the health sector.

The National President of National Association of Community Health Practitioners Nigeria (NACHPN) Akor Okechuwu, stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja, he said while the budget from 2015 to 2018 has grown by 92%( from N4.49 trillion in 2015 to N8.61 trillion) but the health has only grown by 14% (from N997,345,777 in 2016 to N1,117,599,158 2017) and this is unacceptable.

it would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, a few weeks ago had laid the 2018budget for debate and approval to the National Assembly.

According to Okechukwu, “We found that while the overall National budget of Nigeria has grown by 92% from N4.49 trillion in 2015 to N8.61 trillion in 2018, the same cannot of health budget. The health budget has only grown by a small 14%. The prosperity of the national budget has unfortunately not yet been fully felt in the health sector.

“But there is a bigger problem. This problem is that the 2018 health budget as a proportion of total national budget is only 3.9%. This is the lowest share of national budget allocated to health sector in recent times. In 2015, 5.7% of the total national budget was allocated to health but by 2018 it is only 3.9%’ this is a fall of about 2%.

“So today, we must ask ourselves the question, does the 2018 health budget provide enough resources to consolidate the good work of the primary health care providers working within the policy of Primary Health care under one roof? Will this budget enable the Federal Ministry of Health to keep his promise of revitalizing 10,000 PHC? No, it is more like health sector is a runner up in this budget taking consolation prize and not consolidating anything”.

He therefore tasked the National Assembly to do the right thing, “Recently we heard that the World Economic Forum (WEF), in its 2017/2018 global competitive index report has once ranked, Nigeria health system as 136th out of 137 countries of the world. This is certainly not rightful place for Nigeria to be in the community of nations. We therefore call on the National Assembly and all relevant stakeholders to do the needful by improving funding for Nigeria’s health system beginning from 2018 Appropriation Bill”, he said .

He lamented that if the 2018 annual budget proposal called a budget of consolidation, and the federal government is actually committed to consolidation in the health sector, then Community Health Influencers, Promoters and Services, (CHIPS), are consolidators , ‘we must bring it all together’.

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