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ACOMIN advocates inclusion of pro-health policies into national laws, development plan

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
10 October 2022   |   2:46 am
The Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has called for accountability and transparency in utilisation of budgetary allocations to health and also stressed

The Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has called for accountability and transparency in utilisation of budgetary allocations to health and also stressed the need to strategically open up the space for participation of the civil society and communities in healthcare decision-making.

The group also advocated the inclusion of pro-health policies into national laws and development plans, as well as the provision of adequate resources, and facilities and improved the nation’s poor health indices.

The National Coordinator, ACOMIN, Ayo Ipinmoye, who made the call at the quarterly meeting of the Society, in Abuja, said that political leaders need to understand the importance and urgency with which the health systems need to be strengthened to facilitate the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), beginning with making an adequate budgetary allocation to health.

Ipinmoye recalled that in the Year 2001, African Heads of State produced a Declaration, known as the Abuja Declaration, to allocate at least 15 per cent of their national budgets to healthcare, adding that Nigeria has not been able to allocate up to 15 per cent of the country’s national budget to health in the over 20 years.

He noted that the three tiers of government have been consistently allocating under 10 per cent of their budgets to healthcare in spite of glaring healthcare needs, stressing that this needs to change if the political will exists.

Ipinmoye lamented that in 2019, Nigeria contributed 10 per cent of deaths for pregnant mothers, with under-five death rates of 113.8 out of 1000 live births, and 23 per cent of the global malaria mortality.

He said current statistics from the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences show that healthcare institutions rendering health care in Nigeria are 33,303 general hospitals, 20,278 primary health centres and posts and 59 teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres (FMCs).

Ipinmoye noted that the Nigerian Constitution mandates the government with the responsibility to protect and advance the interest of society, including the delivery of high-quality health care, but with the constant dwindling resources, it is clear now that the government cannot do it all alone.

He observed that the ultimate goal of achieving high-quality care would require strong partnerships among federal, state, and local governments and the private sector.

He said: “Strikes have become a fixture with healthcare workers perennially complaining of less unsatisfactory working conditions and to compound issues, we have the exodus of trained healthcare workers to the advanced countries of the world. Any gains made through investments over the years are being leached through the emigration of our young and bright ones. However, regardless of the above, we can make things work if we all adopt a shift of the extant paradigms.

“We need to understand, take ownership of our health outcomes and embrace healthcare as a partnership between government, partners, non-state actors (private sector, civil society, communities) and individuals. We need to understand that health is personal to the individual. We cannot outsource healthcare. Government, partners and non-state actors can play their roles, but if there are no complementary actions from communities and individuals, we will not see the expected outcomes. So, we are promoting that vital partnership that is required to assure improved health outcomes.”

Ipinmoye implored the government to reduce medical errors, and strengthen health systems: purchase health care, provide health care, ensure access to quality care for vulnerable populations, regulate health care systems, support acquisition of new knowledge, develop and evaluate health technologies practices, monitor health care quality, inform healthcare decision-makers and develop the healthcare workforce.