Segun Awofadeji in Gombe
The Gombe State House of Assembly Committee on Health has vowed to vigorously mount pressure on the state’s executive arm for the timely release of funds in the execution of health programmes in the state come 2018.
Chairman of the committee, Dr. Usman Bature Gwani, stated this Tuesday when a Maternal Neo-natal Child Health (MNCH) advocacy team called on the committee to press for its commitment for adequate resource allocation and timely release of allocated funds to capital health projects in the health sector of the state in 2018.
The team led by its Chairman Alhassan Yahaya also wants the retention of health workers in rural areas and wants influential persons and politicians to stop interfering with postings in the state’s health system.
However, some members of the committee present at the visit, who acknowledged the problem of securing the release of budgeted funds, stressed that budgeting had never been the problem in the state but that of release.
The MNCH team had earlier noted that one of the major areas that has received negligible attention over the years is the inadequacy of budgetary provisions and regular release of budgeted funds for the health sector which has led to poor performance of the health sector.
Topmost among its demands were for government to ensure that at least there are two functional blood banks in each of the three senatorial zones of the state, and ensure increase in budgetary allocation for health from the current 8.5 per cent to 15 per cent, according to Abuja declaration of April 2001. There are currently only two functional blood banks in the state.
Other demands included ensuring the release of at least 70 per cent of capital budget to the state Ministry of Health and the state Primary Health Care Development Agency as well as the adoption and full implementation of the task shifting policy and the adoption and implementation of SPHCDA establishment law promoted in the state.