LASAM, Stakeholders Demand Full Release, Implementation of Lagos Health Budget

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Martins Ifijeh

Following the high maternal, newborn mortality rates and other health issues common to Nigeria, the Lagos State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (LASAM) and other stakeholders in the healthcare sector have called on the Lagos State government to release and implement in full health allocation in the 2018 state budget.

Stating this during the Health Budget Financing Dialogue held in Lagos recently, and organised by LASAM, in collaboration with Save the Children International, Development Communications Network, MamaYe-Evidence for Action, among others, the stakeholders said with full release and implementation of budgeted funds, the poor healthcare indices in the country will gain attention.
The stakeholders said the call became imperative as records show that despite the low budgeted allocation to health, only certain percentage of the health allocation is released.

Speaking on behalf of Pharmaccess, Dr. Olumide Okulaja said, “It is not the size of the budget that really matters, but the allocation and implementation. That is why I am recommending the application of the Confucian Theory in the budget process.”

Mrs Lola Alonge, a member of LASAM, called on the state government to gradually increase heath budget to at least 15 per cent based on the 2001 Abuja Declaration where African Head of States agreed to make the commitment.

She said, “We are asking for timely release of health allocations. We also want the government to accelerate implementation of health budget. Apart from the government, we want the private sector to support and fund health.”

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jude Idris said the government, in the last few years, has channeled huge resources to health, but was not been appreciated enough since health is often considered an intangible projects.”

Recognising health financing as a key segment of the sector, he said the state has been making efforts to do things right, adding that any society that values life will definitely fund the health Sector.

The General Manager, Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Dr. Peju Adenusi said to further improve on the health of Lagosians, the state mandatory health insurance scheme will commence, within he next few months, adding that this will ensure all residents of the state have access to affordable and quality healthcare.

She said, on the scheme, a family of six will pay N40, 000 annually, which amounts to N3, 333 monthly. “This will contain full subsidies for five per cent coverage of the very poor, while there shall be premium subsidy for Lagos State civil servants. Where a family is just a man and his wife, both can still benefit by contribute N17,000 annually.

“The scheme will address certain health issues, including antenatal and postnatal care; normal delivery and caesarian session care of newborn; prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV; immunization, growth monitoring and promotion; management of childhood illnesses; family planning and counseling; adolescent reproductive health care; prevention of tuberculosis and leprosy; prevention and control of malaria; prevention and control of STIs,/HIV/AIDs.

“Others are prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, diabetes and hypertension; emergency health services; minor surgeries and anaesthesia; health education; ophthalmic care; and dental care.”

The highpoint of the occasion was the launch of #fundnaijahealth by the Country Director, Mamaye-Evidence for Action, Dr. Tunde Segun.