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ONE Africa tasks government on healthcare policies


 Nachilala Nkombo

Nachilala Nkombo

As the government finalises its 2017 budget, ONE Africa, a global campaigning and advocacy organisation is urging an investment in health, as stipulated in the National Health Act 2014, as well as, keep its commitment to the 2001 African Union’s Abuja commitment.

Nigeria is facing both health and nutrition crisis, as women and children continue to die from preventable and treatable diseases. If fully implemented, the national health act (2014) could save the lives of over three million mothers, newborns and children under five by 2022.

This was the thrust at an event organised by ONE Africa, targeted at calling on the government to urgently boost the health sector, with its Make Naija Stronger campaign.

Nachilala Nkombo, Deputy Director, ONE Africa, said while other African countries are improving their health indicators, inconsistent and insufficient health funding in Nigeria, over the years, have made access to basic life-saving health services a luxury to ordinary Nigerians.

“The Federal Executive and Legislature can change this permanently, by ensuring that the 2017 federal budget provisions boldly move health up the ladder of national government priorities,” she said. “At the ONE campaign, we are committed to working in partnership with local groups so that any health funding allocated in the budget is monitored to ensure that it reaches the neediest citizen.”

Nigerian celebrities have also lent their voices to this cause and shared their experiences of misdiagnosed treatments.Singer Waje said: “As a patriotic Nigerian, it is particularly distressing to me that our country is suffering from a silent killer –the health crisis, which is completely avoidable. In 2009, I was misdiagnosed at a hospital and treated for malaria, when I had appendicitis, until it ruptured. I felt so much pain in my tummy that I was rushed to the nearest hospital and was operated on within an hour. I still have issues of laughing hard till date.”

Kannywood actor, Ali Nuhu said state of health care is pathetic in the north and so, it is important that people know their rights and what should be done to access health care services.

Fifteen years ago, all African governments made a commitment in Abuja to increase health spending to 15 per cent of their national budgets. However, this pledge is yet to be fulfilled, as only a paltry 4.3 per cent of the country’s budget is allocated to health in the 2016 Appropriation Bill. The National Health Act 2014 has not yet been funded nor fully implemented either.

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