Group wants 15 per cent of Nigeria’s budget devoted to health sector

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A Civil Society Organisation has urged the federal government to increase allocation to the sector to 15 per cent of the national budget.

At a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, the Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice, CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, said the recommendation was necessary to revamp the health sector.

Nigerian government investments in the health sector are below regional and global standards, the group said. It added that life expectancy in Nigeria is nearly the worst in the world at 53 years for males and 56 years for females.

Mr. Onyekpere listed other recommendations to include:

“The government should implement the National Health Act by setting aside not less than 1 per cent of the consolidated Revenue Fund to basic Health Care Provision Fund. In this regard, guidelines for the disbursement and monitoring of the funds by the administrations should be prioritized to reflect the provision act.

“To also increase allocation to the health sector to reach the 15 per cent Abuja declaration benchmark.

“Ensure strict and efficient implementation of the resources allocated to the sector by implementing open contracting standards as part of an open government strategy.”

The group also called for “full and timely release of the capital budget of the health sector starting from 2017 financial year, and the revitalization of one primary health centre per ward (a total of 10,000 across the federation).”

The group further urged government to increase its efforts towards a policy and legal framework for sustainable immunization financing and the full funding of nationwide fight against malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, the biggest childhood killer diseases in Nigeria.

“Federal government should explore innovative funding mechanisms for the health sector including compulsory universal health insurance scheme for all Nigerians.

“The specific contributions of development partners should be identified and captured in the budget for purpose of transparency and accountability”, Mr. Onyekpere disclosed.

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