Stakeholders fault 2018 budget health allocation
Urge Govt To Open Comprehensive Cancer Centres
Stakeholders have faulted the 2018 budgetary allocation to the health sector, and charged government to increase funding to the sector make healthcare accessible to all Nigerians, irrespective of location and financial status.
They also urged the Federal Government to open comprehensive cancer centres in the country’s six geopolitical zones to reduce the number of women dying daily of breast cancer, which they said has become a major ailment in the country. In addition, they canvassed rehabilitation of dilapidated healthcare facilities to reduce the number of Nigerians travelling abroad for medical purpose.
Dr. Ebunola Anozie, Chief Executive Officer, Public Enlightenment, Breast Cancer Awareness Network, Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, Lagos, said the budget for 2018 is N9.1trn, out of which N340.456bn is proposed for the Federal Ministry of Health. This, she said, is four per cent of the overall proposed 2018 budget, and an increase of 10 percent above the 2017 budget.
She explained that the recurrent budget increased by six per cent from N253.8bn to N269.3bn.
Hopefully, she said the additional funds should address the issues of human resources and staff welfare in the Ministry. The capital budget also increased from N55.6bn in 2017 to N71bn.
Anozie noted that the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) was not funded in the 2018 budget, defying promises made by the executive.
She said: “Although in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, the Federal Government said BHCPF will be funded in 2018, but this has not been reflected in statutory transfer in the proposed budget. The total amount for statutory transfer in 2018 has been lumped together without any breakdown, and therefore not showing details of agencies funded through statutory transfer.
“This, therefore, suggests that no budgetary provision was made for BHCPF. Commitments to fund family planning budget to the tune of USD4m have been met, but the Abuja 15 per cent target was not met.”
Explaining that the increased funding does not necessarily translate to efficient service delivery, Anozie said it is too early to decide how well the health sector will perform.
“Improved health services delivery is reliant not only on increased funding allocations, but also requires good budget execution and public financial management,” she said.
Also speaking, Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State branch, Dr. Oseni Salihu said the budget is grossly inadequate and below the World Health Organisation (WHO), recommendation of 15 per cent.
He noted that the real problem with this inadequacy is poor security of fund and implementation.
Salihu stated that the allocation is not enough to transform facilities in the General Hospital.
He said: “But there would be effectiveness, if this available amount is used for what it is meant for. Again, universal health coverage remains the best way to go, though it is not enough, but we can start from somewhere.
“I would advise that it is better for government to ensure implementation of agreed policies and pay particular attention to universal health coverage (UHC), as well as ensure adequate manpower and restoration of needed equipment.”