Mwambu Wanendeya, the Executive Director, ONE Campaign, an NGO, has urged the Federal Government to commence the full implementation of the 2014 National Health Act by allocating 15 per cent of its budget to the health sector.
Wanendeya gave the advice when speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the sideline of the NGO’s health campaign titled, “Make Naija Stronger” on Tuesday in Lagos.
Wanendeya said that timely implementation of the Act would save over three million mothers and children under the age of five from untimely deaths.
“If it is fully implemented, the National Health Act will save the lives of over three million mothers, newborns and children under-5 by 2022.
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to increase the quantity and quality of funding to the health sector so that it can implement the Act and ensure all Nigerian children not only survive but thrive.
This can be achieved through increased transparency in the budget, particularly in public health procurement process, by disclosing all procurement documents including signed contracts, bids and analysis,” Wanendeya said.
He said that government could improve on healthcare systems by stepping up funds for nutrition in the 2017 budget in line with the national nutrition strategy.
NAN reports that the NGO, an international advocacy organisation, is into fighting extreme poverty and preventable diseases.
Also speaking, Dr Nkem Onyejizu, a public health expert, noted that both federal and state governments spent relatively little on the health of its citizens.
“Nigeria’s health expenditure puts it in the bottom third of the ranking of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Out of 49 lower-middle income countries, only seven country governments spend less per capita than Nigeria does on health.
“In 2014, this figure stood at 55 dollar per person; 31 dollars short of the minimum expenditure required to ensure proper health services,” Onyejizu said.
She commended the Federal Government’s plan to build 10,000 primary health care services (PHCs) across the country and called for the development of a comprehensive community health insurance scheme.
Similarly, Dr Francis Uchiuke, Head of Health Planning and Research Department in the Federal Ministry of Health, urged all stakeholders and the civil society groups to collaborate with government in addressing challenges facing the health sector in the country.
NAN reports that on April 25, 2001 governments of African countries met in Abuja and agreed to increase health spending to 15 per cent of their national budgets.
NAN reports that only 4.37 per cent was allocated to health in the 2016 Appropriation Bill. (NAN)