As 1% Health Allocation Jettisoned, More Nigerians Risk Avoidable Deaths

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Khalisa and Mohammed are one out of many parents who have mourned the death of their child due to the inability to access quality healthcare services when he was sick with pneumonia.

The sick child was denied being admitted in the hospital due to lack of bed space; though he was taken to other public hospitals, the parents were faced with same situation. The treatable sickness invariably killed their child.

“In my community, people die every day from maybe typhoid, Pneumonia, some other kind of simple diseases which I think requires only simple treatment; unfortunately, they do not get good healthcare services,” said Mohammed who also resides in Damagaza, a suburb in the Federal Capital Territory.

Like Khalisa and Mohammed, many Nigerians, mostly, mothers and children under five risks being killed by preventable diseases, as the one percent consolidated revenue fund for health has again been left out of the 2017 budget.

This is despite concerted efforts made by the Ministry of Health and Stakeholders to educate the office of the Budget and National Planning on the need for the about 42 billion naira equivalent to the one percent consolidated revenue for quality health for all Nigerians.

The fund which is meant to boost universal health coverage and make room for Nigerians to access quality healthcare services at subsidized rate was enacted in 2014 but two years down the lane, it is yet to be appropriated in the budgets.

Recall that stakeholders in the health sector had among other things pushed for the inclusion of the 1% consolidated revenue in the National Health Act of which article 11 of the acts vividly describes how the health money should be spent.

As contained in the NHAct, 50% of the money is to ensure universal health coverage by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), while 45% will enable the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHDA) to procure essential drugs and vaccines, ensure quality laboratory activities and provide for human resources.

The remaining 5% is meant to support emergency medical treatment

The health fund therefore, is summarily targeted at Nigerian masses of who majority are poor and reside in villages, where most of the avoidable deaths take place.

It was against this backdrop that the Coalitions of Civil Societies are calling on the federal government to ensure that the lives of Nigerians become priority in any budget proposal.

“We reliably gathered just this week that one percent of the consolidated revenue fund which was provided for in article 11 of the health act, that the money may not show up in the 2017 health budget,” they said.

Lamenting the lackadaisical attitude put forward by the government in the implementation of the Health Act, the CSOs said it was uncalled for that efforts to improve the health sector that will in-turn affect the lives of Nigerians positively has been greeted with laxity.

“It took CSOs 10 years, to convince the policy makers in the country to pass the bill which was eventually done in 2014…it is two years since the enactment of the Act, yet the government at all levels have not made much effort to see the implementation of this Act,” they said.

Briefing Newsmen at the advocacy meeting in Abuja, Country Representative, ONE, Mr. Edwin Ikhuoria, said Mothers, Children, Nigerians die every day due to health complications that could be treated if they had the means.

He said, “Every day in this country, about 145 women die from pregnancy or child birth related complications, about 1000 newborns will not even live to see their first birthday and about 600 die before they celebrate their fifth birthday.”

He also said it was a pity that about 41000 children get infected with HIV annually, not because the infection could not be avoided but they couldn’t go through the normal prevention of mother to child transmission of infection (HIV) processes.

“This can be prevented from a functional health system, and this is what the national health act was purposed to put in place, a functional health system that we could use in tracking resources from input to outcomes, but we can not understand why this has not taken a place in the policy of this government,” said Ikhuoria.

Further more, Dr. Amina Aminu of PATHS 2 said there was need for the national health act to be respected, adding that it was saddening that lives are being lost on a daily basis due to the health sector not being well funded.

“We have a national health act that is so comprehensive, we want it to be followed, we want all of us to be sure that children and even men do not continue to die, we are saying enough is enough and we know what works, we know the solution, they are all in the national health act, implementing it will take Nigeria to better level in health,” she added.


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