From: FRED ITUA, Abuja
The National Assembly has resolved to raise the N51 billion budgeted for the health sector in the 2017 Appropriation Bill to N100 billion. The move is to ensure that funds are made available to revitalize 10,000 primary health care centres across the country.
Chairman of House Committee on Health Care Services, Hon. Chike John Okafor, who made the disclosure, on Monday, in Abuja, during a stakeholders’ meeting of Primary Health Centres revitalisation support group, lamented that Nigeria would likely run into serious health challenges in 2017 if nothing was done to review the budgetary allocation to the sector.
He said the people to be badly affected would be women and children, especially those in the rural areas.
According to Hon. Okafor, “the current provisions for the the revitalisation of primary health centres is not commensurate with the current challenges. The budget proposal provides N3 billion for revitalising 1,000 primary healthcare centres in 2017, while the Federal Government plans to collaborate with states and local government areas to revitalise and make functional 10,000 centres nationwide by 2019.
“It is not clear how an average of N3 million would make a healthcare centres functional with the current widespread disrepair of infrastructure across the country. The ambition and amount allocated grossly understates the need in the country to achieve better health outcomes at the primary level.”
Speaking further, he said: “A more detailed analysis of the 2017 health appropriation bill, which still awaits legislative action by the National Assembly, will reveal that there is a huge drop in percentage of health appropriation compared to the previous years.
Okafor who represents Ehime Mbano/Obowo/Ihitte Uboma Federal Constituency of Imo State further explained that, “the work of the primary healthcare centres revitalization support group is all about health system strengthening at all levels of government.
He said that the major problem in the health sector was funding and that if the public health centres were revitalized, the pressure would reduce on the tertiary health centres adding that the country requires about N100 billion to ensure that healthcare centres were in good standing.