2018 Budget: ONE Campaign Flays FG for Poor Allocation to Health

0

Vincent Obia

One, an international campaign and advocacy group, has criticised the allocation to health in the 2018 budget, saying it casts doubt on the federal government’s commitment to addressing the many challenges facing the country’s health sector, especially at the primary level. The group, which is dedicated to fighting poverty and disease, said in a statement yesterday that while the proposed allocation of N340.45 billion to the Federal Ministry of Health was an increase of 10.4 per cent over the 2017 health budget, there was no provision for statutory transfer for the basic health care provision fund. “This means that Nigerians will not get the basic minimum standard of care at their primary healthcare centres,” it stated.

ONE Campaign said the scant attention to health was against the spirit of the National Health Act 2014, which provides that all Nigerians shall be entitled to a basic minimum package of health services. It condemned the decrease in the percentage allocation to health from 4.15 per cent in 2017 to 3.95 per cent in the 2018 budget.

ONE in Nigeria Country Director, Serah Makka-Ugbabe, stated, “The Nigerian health sector remains in crisis. In the last decade we have not seen appreciable enhancements to the quality of healthcare for Nigerians. Instead, we have observed a decline. How long will we continue accept such decay in the health sector? It is time for a step-change. It is time to ensure that all Nigerians have access to maternal, new-born, immunisation, emergency and routine care at a minimum standard. The National Health Act, which we agreed to, specifies that ‘all Nigerians shall be entitled to a basic minimum package of health services’. How long will Nigerians die from preventable tragedies for want of pills and injections that cost a few Naira?”

Ugbabe called for transparency in the health sector through the adoption of open contracting standards.