Home News Nigeria has lowest health budget in Africa – Minister

Nigeria has lowest health budget in Africa – Minister

by Muhammad Sani

By Haruna Gimba

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said the country has one of the lowest health budgets in Africa.

The minister who spoke during a facility tour of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi- Araba, also identified underfunding as one of the biggest challenges facing the sector in the last two decades.

According to him, the annual health budget in Nigeria is lower than what obtains in war-torn countries in Africa.

He said: “The health sector has suffered from chronic underfunding for many years now. We are even behind South-Sudan, Angola and Ethiopia.

“We cannot develop the sector, if we do not give it the funding that it deserves. In Egypt or Rwanda, you will marvel at the state of their facilities and the standard of their health care systems. Their governments have placed a priority on the sector.”

To address the gap in funding, Professor Adewole said the ministry would meet with top executives from the World Bank to revive the primary health care system in the country.

The minister, who stated that only 20 per cent of the over 30,000 PHCs in the country were functioning, added that the bank and investors using technical and financial assistance would make them more functional.

Adewole explained that the reactivation of the moribund health centres was to decongest the tertiary hospitals, adding that the Federal Government would establish Lassa fever laboratories in disease-prone areas in the country.

“We lost about 60 per cent of those that were diagnosed with Lassa fever because of the challenge of early detection. For instance, the village where the virus broke out in Niger State did not have a functional health centre. But with more laboratories, patients can be detected and treated as soon as they are confirmed to be positive,” he stated.

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