ANHeJ decries N1.33Tr FG health budget as ridiculously low

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…Calls for 15% Implementation of Abuja Declaration for Healthcare Sector

By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

The Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHeJ) have decried the N1.33 trillion Federal Government Health budget as ridiculously low, as the Association prevailed President Bola Tinubu to implement 15 percent of the ‘Abuja Declaration’ of its country’s annual budget to the health sector to reverse the prevalence of maternal mortality deaths in the country.

ANHeJ President, Mr. Joseph Kadiri made this known at the opening of the 7th Annual conference of ANHEJ with the theme, “Health Security: Nigeria’s Efforts to Achieve Universal Health Coverage”, on Thursday 7th December 2023 in Nasarawa state.

Kadiri lamented the proposed allocation of N1.33 trillion, representing only five percent of the entire 2024 Proposed Budget is abysmally low and stressed on the need to inject more funds to the health sector to ensure the full implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).

Kadiri also lamented the refusal of the Federal Gvernment’s inability to draw lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, despite the already strategic efforts seen from many countries towards mobilizing resources to curb future epidemics.

He noted that prioritizing adequate funds will boost health security for the attainment of universal health coverage.

“This conference brings together stakeholders from both the public and private space in the health sector to examine the federal government’s efforts to tackle the country’s poor health indices such as the maternal mortality rate which is still among the highest in the world, with an estimated 512 deaths per 100,000 live births, a high under-five mortality rate of 117 per 1, 000 live births, and the rate of women that deliver outside health facilities at over 65%, among other statistics.”

Furthermore, Country Director BudgIT Gabriel Okeowo represented by Rachael Abujah, the Vice President of the ANHEJ speaking on Sub-theme: 3 “Improving access to healthcare: the role of the Primary Health Care (PHCs)”, called for a collective approach to ensuring that PHCs are well-equipped and accessible to all even as he urged journalists for storytelling that will enhance the positive impact of community-based PHCs on areas that require urgent attention.

“In a nation where access to quality healthcare remains a paramount concern, the role of PHCs cannot be overstated. These community-based healthcare centers serve as the cornerstone of our healthcare system, acting as the first line of defense and support for individuals and families. Sub-theme 3 underscores the imperative of enhancing access to healthcare through the pivotal role played by PHCs.”

“Let us use this platform to foster a dialogue that identifies obstacles and propels us toward actionable solutions. By advocating for the role of PHCs in improving healthcare accessibility, we contribute to the overarching goal of a healthier and more resilient nation.”

“I encourage each one of you to actively engage in discussions, share insights, and collaborate on ideas that will shape the narrative around Sub-theme 3 and, in turn, drive positive changes in our healthcare landscape.”

Also, personalities who have made an impact in promoting health security in various ministries and agencies were awarded by the Association

One of the the awardees, the Director General National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Prof. Moji Adeyeye represented by the Special Adviser NAFDAC Nantim Dadi, and the former Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care and Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, represented by Mohammad Ohitoto highlighted the Association’s contribution to the country’s polio-free certification, adding that adequate communication is key to eliminating diseases and sicknesses in the country.

Daybreak reports that the aim of the Conference is to take stock of progress, challenges of critical areas in the healthcare sector that requires urgent attention, particularly on the current diphtheria outbreak which has claimed over 600 lives from over 7, 000 cases.

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