The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, says the federal government has approved N4 billion to provide health and tackle malnutrition in parts of northeast Nigeria.
Hundreds have died in the past months from severe malnutrition in the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps.
Speaking in Maiduguri, Borno State, on Thursday, the minister said the approved funds would be specifically spent on health and nutrition matters in the troubled region.
Mr. Adewole spoke during a zonal roundtable for officials of states primary health care development agencies (PHCDA), ahead the flagging off of Saving One Million lives Program for Results (SOML-P4R).
The SOML-P4R is an initiative of the Federal Government, as part of its effort to improve maternal and child healthcare through a result-based partnership with states’ ministries of health.
He said the federal government had set up a presidential task force for the northeast, to be headed by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, to address critical areas of need in the sub-region.
Focal areas are water, environment, health and nutrition.
“In six months, we want to restore sanity in these four sectors,” said the health minister. “I want to tell you that each sector is chaired by a minister. I chair the sub-committee on health and our budget has been approved for the northeast. That budget will entail spending of N4 billion on health and nutrition in the northeast – with emphasis on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
He however warned the benefitting states not to convert the SOML-P4R funds into their various states’ budget for health. Rather, he said, they should see it as an addition to what they may have budget for healthcare.
“We are going to score each states on how much they have budgeted for health; and we should also be able to give them reward for that.
“Save One Million Lives is an addition and it should be seen as such. Unlike in the past, we would want to record what we have done with the money; how many lives have we save; how many cases of child mortality have we addressed; and how much improvement do we put in governance, structures and processes in the health sector. If we discover that there is no performance, there will be no reward; and the reward is more money allocation,” he said.
On the issue of the resurgence of poliomyelitis, the minister said between now and December, the federal government will be “vaccinating about 41 million Nigerians against polio”.
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