Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

National Health Act: CSOs calls for consolidated fund

Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, under the aegis of Health Sector Reform Coalition, HSRC, has called for the return of the one percent consolidated fund captured in the National Health Act to the 2017 health budget.

In a statement jointly signed by the country representative, Champions for Change on behalf of HSRC, Mrs. Theresa Iffa Kaka and Country Lead Director of One Campaign, Mr. Edwin Ikhuoria said  Nigerian lives should be a in any budget proposal.

According to the CSOs, "we have reliably gathered that the one percent of the consolidated revenue fund in article 11 of the National Health Act needed for Basic Health Provision Fund, BHPF, may not make it through the executive budget proposal for 2017 despite all promises and commitments publicly made by the present government.

"Information available to us is that the one percent statutory transfer allocation which was repeatedly requested by the Federal Ministry of Health to be included in the 2017 budget proposal has been taken out.

"The National Health Act which took 10 years for policy makers to pass, was on the 31st of October 2014 accented to by the former president Goodluck Jonathan. It is two years since the enactment of the Act, yet the government at all levels have not made much effort to see to its implementation." 

The CSOs called on President Buhari who has displayed so much discipline in his leadership on several occasions in Nigeria and has globally made promises to improve the quality of health care for all Nigerians should ensure the full implementation of the National Health Act.

The statement also read that, "In 2015, during the visit of the World Health Organisation, WHO, team to celebrate one year without a new polio case, President Buhari stated before the international media that he has directed the Ministry of Finance to ensure the allocation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

"It was shocking to Nigerians that in 2016, this money was not allocated. Does this mean that the directive of the president has been disregarded especially when the lives of the common man is concerned? The lives of those who voted him into power?

"It must be noted that today life expectancy in Nigeria is one of the worst in the world at 53 years for males and 56 years for females. Everyday about 145 women die from pregnancy or child birth related complications in Nigeria; about 1,000 newborns and 2600 children below the age of five die every day in this country with nearly a third of these deaths from vaccine preventable diseases."

In addition, the CSOs said more than 41,000 children become newly infected by HIV and it's more than any other country in the world, adding that, more than 2 million people including women and children are displaced, exacerbating the already grim health indicators.

The CSOs added that "Several notable people have stated that the success of the NHAct cannot be guaranteed because of the counterpart funding requirement from the states. They have cited the case of the Universal Basic Education Commission Fund as an example.

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