Child spacing: Niger State working group decries 2021 budget

Tunde Bolaji – Minna.

Niger state Working group on Child Spacing has decried 2021 proposed budget saying that Citizens will likely be responsible for their Health Care Needs with Merger Public Expenditure on Health Sector in the budget.

The Technical working group on Child Spacing and the Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health other Primary Health Care Professionals in the State expressed serious worry that the allocation of a meager 6.5% was nothing to write home about.

According to the group, 6.5% of the total State budget which constitute about 9.1 billion to health sector which in the long run is about 9.5% less than Abuja declaration of 15% allocation to health sector may fail to impact meaningfully on the health of the state.

The FP TWG Meeting, which was held at Gidan Matasa in Minna with the support of the development Research and Project Centre (dRPC) under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health At Scale (PACFaH@Scale) project, also expressed fear that With Niger State allocation to health sector about 9.5% less than Abuja declaration of 15%.

The position of the group was made known in a statement signed by the Project Director of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health, (CCRHS) Dr. Aliyu Yabagi Shehu.

It said that Niger State Child Spacing Advocacy Working Group met “to deliberate on the activities of the platform and to reflect on issues related to child spacing services in the state, celebrate successes, strengthen achievements and strategies to mobilize resources and to generate political will of government toward addressing challenges associated with family planning in the State.
The group used the opportunity of the meeting to X-rayed the budget analysis and Issue briefs produced by the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @ Scale in Nigeria (PAS) and found that about N9.8 billion constituting about 6.5% which is about 9.5% less than Abuja Declaration of 15% is proposed for Niger health sector.

The assessment further reflects that there is a cut in the allocation to State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), with SPHCDA capital budget slightly increased by 0.54%, the recurrent SPHCDA budget is 48.57% less than the N932 million approved revised in the 2020 budget.

The SPHCDA budget from the assessment represents 33.57% of the total health budget compared to 39.96% in the revised 2020 budget. It noted that the PHCDA capital budget represents 38.38% of the total health capital budget in the proposed 2021 budget compared to 35.43% in the 2020 revised budget (PAS Fact Sheet on Niger State 2021 Budget).

The analysis further relayed that like the revised 2020 budget, the 2021 proposed budget neither has budget lines for Family planning, IMCI, and routine immunization nor any funding commitments.

It recalled that in 2018, these budget lines were not allocated any funds.

Therefore it stated that the above implies that with merger public expenditure on health sector, citizens are likely responsible for their health care needs and this will have catastrophic consequences for Women of Reproductive Age in the State.

Niger State health indices will be hampered; hence the blue prints commitment of increasing the State CPR from 6% to 25% will not be achieved which could result to more women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth due to lack of adequate allocation to Family Planning.

The group stressed the need for provision of adequate allocation to health sector and a budget lines to Family Planning to enhance the achievement of Niger State 2017 FP blue prints

The CS-AWG therefore Call on all relevant stakeholders (Executives and the Legislatures) in Niger State to: to review upward, the percentage allocation to Health Sector Budget in the 2021 proposed budget, to Reverse the cut in the SPHCDA’s,reestablish its commitment to Child Spacing through the creation of budget lines for Family Planning in the proposed 2021 budget, and to ensure prompt releases of funds to the health sector for efficient and effective health care service delivery in the state.

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