By Danmaryam Zayamu
Concerned by the low budgetary provision to the health sector in the 2020 budget, a health accountability network of Nigerian Civil Society Organisations – the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (PACFaH@Scale), has launched a social campaign.
The campaign is aimed at holding lawmakers accountable to meet the 15% quota for the health budget. The campaign hashtag is #fundmyhealth2020
A statement signed by PACFaH@Scale Executive Director, Dr Judith Ann-Walker, noted that the social media campaign is designed to enable Nigerians talk to the legislators about the need to improve the budget from the current 4.14% to the 15% agreed in 2001.
‘’Nigerians are calling on lawmakers to listen to their pleas and increase the funding for health more than what the 2020 proposed budget has outlined, ‘’ she stressed.
Dr. Ann-Walker recalled that in April 2001, the African Union countries met in Abuja and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector.
She, however, lamented that the agreement was short lived, 18 years down the line and that only a handful of countries including Rwanda, Botswana, Ethiopia, Malawi, Gambia, Swaziland, Zambia — have met the 2001 Abuja declaration target.
Nigeria that hosted the conference in 2001, she regretted, has never met the 15% budget line and has only recorded 5.95% as the highest percentage allocated to the health sector in 2012.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 ranked Nigeria’s health system 187 among the 191 member states only ahead of Congo, Central African Republic and Myanmar.
“In spite of technological advances, health care provision is proving more complicated as the Nigerian population continues to rise.
“Infant and under-five mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world, with WHO stating that at least 120 under-five children in Nigeria die for every 1000 live births and the average life expectancy is estimated at 55 for men and 56 for women.
“Researchers have associated Nigeria’s dysfunctional health system to gross inadequate infrastructural support, electricity, potable water and diagnostic labs, low per capita health spending and high out of pocket expenditure by citizens.,” the statement reiterated.
According to Dr. Walker, the 2020 proposed national budget only allocated 4.14% to the health sector, which she said, is grossly inadequate .
“The N10.33 trillion budget has allocated N427 billion to health with N336 billion for recurrent expenditures (salaries), N44 billion for the basic health care fund (actual service delivery) and N46 billion for capital expenditure (infrastructure or equipment),” she added.