Cross River Assembly pledges improved budgetary allocations for healthcare
CrossRiver State House of Assembly has promised to adhere to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) budgetary requirement on health to improve healthcare delivering, particularly Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
The Speaker, Eteng Jonas, who disclosed this yesterday in Calabar during a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on the global fund’s institutional capacity strengthening for Cross River State, also promised to follow up with the medium term expenditure framework, a key requirement to enable the state join Lagos in accessing the global fund.
The workshop was organised by development partners of the state, including the FHI360, the Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme (ECEWS), as well as the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN).
He said: “We are determined to improve the budgetary allocation to the health sector in the state and that is why we are putting pressure on the Executive.
“HIV/AIDS is something we cannot fold our hands and watch our citizens die. You have given us a template for next year’s budget. We are encouraging a formula that reflects the medium term framework.
“For any state to grow, you have to set up a development formula and stick to it. We are going to stick to the WHO’s benchmark or do something close to what the requirement is. If the Federal Government does up to 10 per cent, then we as a state should not go lower and we hope to achieve this through appropriation.”
Meanwhile, the House Committee Chairman on Health, Dr. Ekpo Bassey, said poor allocation had hindered the growth of the health sector in the country.
“The healthcare sector of the country is suffering because the country as a whole has not been able to allocate the right percentage of its yearly budget to the health sector.
“Government has the responsibility for funding to support the sector. The present state Assembly is determined to achieve this for the overall benefit of the state and its people,” Ekpo said.
Also, a representative of FHI360, Kazeem Balogun, said the medium term framework, a key requirement for accessing the global fund that would bring several benefits to the state.
Balogun said some of the key benefits would include owning their own civic response and determining what the state’s priorities are, further strengthening the healthcare system of the state and also positioning the state to access resources from other donor-agencies across the world.