Civil society groups urge government to set aside 15% allocation for health
Ahead of the proposed 2017 Appropriation Bill, 76 civil society organisations in the health sector have asked the Federal Government to allocate 15 per cent of planned expenditure to it.
The groups said the charge was in line with the April 2001 meeting of African Union (AU) countries in Abuja where they pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15 per cent of their yearly budget to improve the sector.
Besides, the groups, which sought a compulsory National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for the country and the allocation of at least N41.69 billion to jumpstart the Basic Healthcare Provisions Fund, also asked for a mechanism that would ensure full release of the capital budget of the sector starting from the 2017 financial year.
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), Dr. Ben Anyene, who spoke at a forum in Abuja on behalf of the organisations, stressed that with a well-funded sector, individuals would spend less resources on medicare.
Also, Lead Director at Centre for Social Justice (CENSOJ), Eze Onyekpere, called for the implementation of the National Health Act by setting aside at least one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Fund.
He stressed: “The memorandum seeks increased allocation to the health sector to reach the 15 per cent Abuja Declaration benchmark. The bulk of the new resources should go to capital expenditure to enhance access to equipment and health supporting infrastructure.
“We are also looking forward to government increasing the efficiency of the health sector spending through greater value for money strategies; ensuring strict and efficient implementation of the resources allocated to the health sector by implementing open contracting standards as part of an open government strategy.”
He added: “Care must be taken to ensure that Federal Government’s spending on health is dedicated to the issues assigned to it by the constitution and extant laws. The experience of the nurses and midwives hired by the government during similar interventions like MSS and SURE-P should be brought on board in designing the implementation strategies of the primary healthcare revitalisation initiatives. Essentially, federal, states and local councils must come up with a clear strategy for sustaining the improvements after the government withdraws its intervention.”
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