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Demand concrete health agenda from 2023 political aspirants, Global Fund advises Nigerians

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
04 July 2022   |   3:46 am
Representative of Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund, Ibrahim Tajudeen, has urged Nigerians to demand a concrete health agenda from candidates jostling for leadership positions in next year’s general elections.

•Says only 5,000 of nation’s 34,000 PHCs functioning
Representative of Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund, Ibrahim Tajudeen, has urged Nigerians to demand a concrete health agenda from candidates jostling for leadership positions in next year’s general elections.

He called for implementation of the National Malaria Strategic Plan to reduce prevalence and mortality to 10 per cent by 2025.

While also canvassing a strong Primary Health Care (PHC) system that guarantees access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Tajudeen regretted that of the 34,000 PHCs in Nigeria, only about 5,000 are functional.

Similarly, Civil Society for Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has appealed to Nigerians to only vote candidates that demonstrate commitment to improving the country’s health sector vis-à-vis their track records and manifestos.

The group equally charged political leaders to get care from government health facilities as a way of strengthening the system.

At an advocacy meeting organised by ACOMIN in Abuja, Tajudeen said: “It is critical at this political campaign era to get the aspirants to understand the importance of funding the health sector adequately, as it is expedient for the Federal Government to dedicate 15 per cent of the country’s yearly budgets to health.”

The Global Fund official challenged Nigerians to begin interrogation of contestants on what they have offered them in the health sector.

He lamented that the most populous black nation was accounting for 27 per cent malaria prevalence and 23 per cent mortality globally.

Tajudeen stressed that aside from the yearly budgets, there was need to mobilise additional domestic resources to finance key malaria interventions with a view to taming the scourge.

He said: “Nigeria was able to buy 330,000 doses of Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (also known as Fansidar drugs) worth of N98.8 million, which is just about 1.29 per cent of the needs of Nigerians. So, if Nigerians need this drug and you are able to provide 1.9 per cent of it, we can see that it is still far from being adequate. In addition, government is expected to procure $300 million loan from the World Bank, Islamic Bank and African Development Bank. The Implementation is supposed to have started since last year, but because of lack of political will, even after an approval has been granted by the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Health is yet to implement. A lot of efforts have been devoted to achieving malaria control, it is important we shift emphasis to elimination of the scourge in Nigeria.”