Inadequate investment major cause of poor health system in Nigeria- Sankore

Things are getting worse.

The Coordinator, Africa Health, Human and Social Development (Afri-Dev) Alliance, Rotimi Sankore, has listed poor investment and the lack of a substantial budgetary allocation to the health sector as major causes of stagnancy in the sector.

He made the disclosure on Thursday during the ongoing Civil Society Consultation Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and malaria in Abuja.

The per capital base allocated to the sector is really important, he said, noting that pitiable sums are given to the sector with which they are expected to work wonders.

“What you invest in health is important and how it is calculated is also important. People deliver dead bodies to the health sector and expect the health ministers to perform miracles. If we don’t address the needs and per capital spendings, then we would be wasting time and resources,” he cautioned.

He noted that the move was expedient as 11 years after the 2001 Abuja Commitment, it was imperative to review the 15 per cent agreed upon by African Heads of State at the time as compulsory budgetary allocation to the health sector.

The Abuja Commitment was a special summit held by African Heads of State in 2001 in which they committed to improve policy and investment to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria and other related infectious diseases. At that summit, they also agreed to allocate 15 per cent of their nation’s yearly budget to the health sector.

“One of the main challenges with that 15 percent is that we all can’t be at 15 percent. Once you meet the 15 percent budgetary allocation to health, you don’t need to keep to it till the next century. In 2010, Zambia allocated 16 percent of her budget to health. But this translates to only $45 (N7200) per capita. It’s the real money that matters not percentage,” Mr. Sankore said.

Mr. Sankore noted that better budgetary allocations work better in the midst of proper provisions for other sectors especially social development and warned that if the current economic conditions are ignored, they degenerate and affect the health sector further.

“Even if you put all your money in health and there’s no water, electricity, good nutrition, it won’t work. All these would work when other social services are provided. If you’re not addressing these needs, they will get worse every year,” he said.

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