Partnership For Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) has called on the federal government to as a matter of urgency reconsider its proposed 4.17 per cent budgetary allocation to health sector. PACFaH, a health advocacy project is calling on the government to allocate a minimum of 10 percent of its annual budget to health, noting that the government had not kept its part of the 2001 Abuja declaration which stipulates that a benchmark of 15per cent should be allocated to this all important sector.
Lamenting a dismal increase from 4.13 per cent in 2016 to 4.19 per cent in 2017, PACFaH said Nigeria stood at a disadvantage to the WHO recommendation of 15 percent benchmark.
The advocacy group with key areas in maternal and child health, family planning, nutrition and routine immunization, disclosed that there was a continuous decline in allocation taking a review from 2006 to 2017 with the highest in the period in review being 5.7 per cent.
Also, from 2015 to 2017 the health sector budget was N259billion, N250billion and N304billion respectively, but in reality, due to the skyrocketing of the dollar to naira exchange rate, the real figures are:$1.4m, $1.3m and $0.997m, which means that Nigeria spends less as the year goes back, PACFaH disclosed.
“No sector of the economy functions properly if the health sector is poorly allocated funds in the budget and that is why the advocacy group had been in the forefront of campaign for more health sector funding and implementation”, it stated.
In his presentation, Director (Strategy)-PSN-PACFaH, Remi Adeseun expressed regrets that for over one and a half decades, Nigeria was yet to keep its part of the WHO benchmark of 15per cent allocation
which she was signatory to since 2001. Adeseun revealed that countries such as Swaziland and Botswana allocate 17% and 16% respectively of their total budget for health, adding that Nigeria has no reason to be an exception.