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Reps want 15% budget increase for Health Sector to tackle deaths over failing health system

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By Gabriel Okoro, Abuja

 

In its bid to curb unnecessary deaths caused by failing health system, the House of Representatives has urged the federal government to increase the annual budgetary allocations of the Health Sector from 5% to 15% as had been pledged by successive governments.

The motion entitled: Deplorable State of Government Owned Healthcare Facilities in Nigeria sponsored by Mr Ntufam Mbora (PDP, Cross River) during plenary on Wednesday necessitated the call by the green chamber.
Speaking while on the floor, Mr Mbora recalled that the reasons adduced for the December 31, 1983 military coup were that Nigeria’s economy had been mismanaged, the country had become indebted and the health sector was in shambles as hospitals had been reduced to mere consulting clinics without drugs, water and health equipment to function optimally;
He noted that 35 years after, including 19 years of democratic rule, investigations carried out across the country revealed that not much has changed in the nation’s public health sector as most public health centres are in deplorable states of being ill-equipped, understaffed and underfunded;
The lawmaker expressed concern that Nigerians are losing faith in the public health sector as most Government facilities are in bad shape and emergency units are barely equipped to respond to critical situations, thus causing privileged Nigerians to seek treatment outside the country;
According to him, the decay in the nation’s health sector calls for a re-evaluation of the annual budgetary allocation to the Sector, which is barely sufficient for adequate provision of medical facilities and maintenance;
“The National Health Act which was aimed at establishing a framework for the regulation, development and management of the National Health System and setting standards for rendering health services and other related matters has neither achieved the cardinal objective of Universal Health Coverage in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nor brought about any significant change.
“The deplorable state of the health sector is a clear indication that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has not been faithfully implemented, given that the 1% basic health care provision fund from the Consolidated Revenue Fund ought to have brought about a significantly improved health sector, including manpower development”, said Mr Mbora.
He worried that despite public outcry, the menace still prevails as 40 per cent of medical doctors in Nigeria are still jobless despite the call on the Federal Government by the Nigeria Medical Association to employ capable medical personnel to reduce mortality rates in the country.
He noted further that the sordid state of Nigeria’s Health Institutions could be attributable to financial leakages, gross managerial ineptitude and corruption.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the House when put to voice vote by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris who presided and was referred to the committee on Health care to ensure compliance.

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