Do not slash 2017 health budget, Minister tells lawmakers

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isacc Adewole in handshake with Chairman, House Committee on Health Care Services, Hon. Chike Okafor during the the public hearing on the urgent need to avert a national health crisis through revitalization and adequate funding of Primary Healthcare System organized by the House of Representative Committee on Health Services in Abuja.

Ahead of the presentation of the 2017 budget to the National Assembly, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has appealed to the lawmakers not to cut proposals for the health sector.

Mr. Adewole made the appeal against the backdrop of the controversy surrounding the 2016 health budget.

Of that budget, the minister alleged that “the proposal drawn up by the ministry and submitted to the budget office had been doctored” and that “foreign appropriations, different from what was submitted, had been sneaked in.”

The minister spoke at a public hearing on Tuesday organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services. The subject of the hearing was the urgent need to avert a national health crisis through revitalization and adequate funding of Nigeria’s primary healthcare System.

The two-day  hearing, which was conducted by the Chike John Okafor-led committee, was meant to map out strategies and activities for PHC revitalization and financing in Nigeria.

“Sir, please preserve our budget, don’t cut it, we will want to deliver health care to our people”, Mr. Adewole, a professor of gynaecology and obstetrics, told the lawmakers.

He described the meeting as a renewed commitment of partnership between his ministry and the House towards achieving the universal health coverage promised by the present administration.

The minister said the Federal Government was working with the private sector to explore alternative sources of funding for the health sector, stressing that the Government could not do it alone.

Mr. Adewole also refuted claims that $400million meant to aid the eradication of polio in Nigeria was stolen.

In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who was represented by the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said financing was one of the greatest challenges in the health sector.

He urged the participants to come up with plans on how to raise funds to revitalize the primary healthcare system in the country as he described it as the first port of call for majority of Nigerians living in the rural areas.

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