By Haruna Gimba
The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) and Track Health have called on the Nigerian Government to increase the health sector’s budget to achieve the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
A statement issued by the coalition said December 12 every year was earmark globally as the “Universal Health Coverage Day,” five years ago by the United Nations Member States who voted to officially recognize the 12th December as #UHCDay.
According to the statement, this year the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution that finally makes it official.“The UN’s vote doesn’t change the fact that millions of people still go bankrupt when they get sick. We all know we still have a lot of work to do. But official recognition for UHC Day is a sure sign that this movement has the staying power to transform societies,” the statement said.
All over the world civil society organizations use UHC Day to call on their governments both at national and sub-national levels to step up actions that will provide equitable health care for all without any form of discrimination.
“While we urge Nigerian government to follow suit, we will like to humbly and respectfully inform members of the general public that the 2018 budget proposal that was already presented to a joint sitting of the National Assembly just like 2016 and 2017, provisions was not made for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), being a statutory transfer provided by section 11 of the National Health Act, 2014.
“We all know that implementation of this act will lead to improved lifesaving investments in the entire Nigeria such as Immunization, Family Planning and Primary Health Care.
“Also in the 2018 budget proposal, the total amount allocated to health is N340.456 billion, out of a total national budget of N8.612 trillion. This sum represents about 3.95 per cent of the total budget.
“When compared to the 2017 health budget, which was an aggregate sum of N308.464 billion being 4.15 per cent of the 2017 federal budget; the Federal Government commitment to the 2001 Abuja declaration of allocating at least 15 per cent of total national budget to health is declining rather than improving.”
The CSOs said many African countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Burkina are bring celebrated to making their health budget a priority in line with meeting the 15 per cent Abuja declaration.
The CHR, AHBN, therefore called on the National Assembly to engage the executive arm of government rigorously so that the 2017 health budget goes up to at least 7.5 per cent of the total budget and also make provisions for the 1% of the CRF for the BHCPF to be captured as a statutory transfer.
“They should also strengthen oversight function so that Nigerian government will improve budget performance against the backdrop that year 2017 performance of health budget was below 25 per cent. Commence the legislative process to establish the Nigerian Immunization Trust Fund.
“The CSOs and Media to step up advocacy to political actors and policy makers to influence increased health budget that will positively impact on Universal Health Coverage.”