By Ndubuisi Francis
The federal government has expressed the need to ensure that increased allocation to the health sector actually translates to improved outcome in the healthcare delivery system.
It reaffirmed its determination to improve healthcare delivery as one of the priorities of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who stated this, observed that to underscore the importance attached to health, the federal government has continued to increase allocations to the sector.
Speaking at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria, where a Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI) facility was inaugurated, she said: “That is why in spite of the very tight revenue constraints and the demands of other competing sectors, the health sector has continued to receive increased allocations.”
Apart from expressing her appreciation over the naming of the MRI Suite after her, Ahmed stated that by the event, she has seen a new era of cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stressing the need to ensure that the increased allocations are actually improving healthcare outcome.
Situating the importance of health in the national plan, Ahmed said: “This is why in the administration’s economic blueprint, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), one of the three principal objectives is “investing in our people”. In particular, in the ERGP, the federal government commits the country to investing in health in order to meet the international targets set under the United Nations (UN) SDGs.”
In a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, she noted that under the ERGP, the country is committed to improving the accessibility, affordability and quality of healthcare.
On the MRI Suite named after her, the minister said it was initiated based on the necessity to avoid travelling abroad for first class health and medical care, describing it as a stepping-stone to a forthcoming greater project of health and medical service in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the project was aimed at enhancing healthcare delivery within the community of the hospital.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, said the project would enhance the quality of service delivery and health care services, especially in the area of radiology and diagnosis.
The Chief Medical Director, Prof. Hamidu A.U, in his welcome speech, said the facility would help to reduce the need for medical trips abroad as the machine is the first of its kind in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
He lauded the efforts of the government, particularly the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Ahmed, for her commitment and support for the project.