Nigeria has once more neglected the commitment it made alongside other African countries 16 years ago on funding of health care services for its citizens.
Nigeria who hosted the Heads of State of member countries of the African Union (AU) in 2001 made the “Abuja Declaration” under which the leaders pledged to commit at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to improving their health sector.
In the 2018 Budget proposal President Muhammadu Buhari presented on Tuesday to the National Assembly, he allocated N340.45 billion, representing 3.9 percent of the N8.6 trillion expenditure plan to the health sector. The allocation is less than the 4.16 percent and 4.23 percent made to the health sector by the administration in the 2017 and 2016 budgets.
The director, Policy and Legislative Advocacy at Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health Aremu Fatai said that The fact that the Abuja declaration was made in Nigeria, we should be taking the lead, but other smaller countries like Kenya, The Gambia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Swaziland are the ones making bold steps in terms of budgetary allocation for health
The director urged the National Assembly to use its power as it is constitutionally guaranteed to make necessarily adjustment to the appropriation bill and make sure that health gets a better deal in the budget.