Tunde Bolaji – Minna
Experts in the Health sector in Niger state have raised the alarm that more women may die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth if the N9.8 billion, representing only 6.5%, allocated to healthcare in the 2021 budget of the state is not reviewed upward.
The critical stakeholders noted that the total state proposed budget presented by the Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello stands at N151.2 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.
While reacting, the Stakeholders claimed that what was allocated is about 9.5% which is less than the Abuja declaration of 15% allocation to health.
According to the Project Director of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health, (CCRHS) Dr. Aliyu Yabagi Shehu , the need for the reassurance of commitment by the government to child spacing through the creation of budget lines for Family Planning in the proposed budget has become expedient.
He “there is a need to provide adequate allocation to the health sector and a budget line for Family Planning to enhance the achievement of Niger State 2017 Family Planning blueprints commitment of increasing the State CPR from 6.6% to 25%.
“To avoid catastrophic consequences to Nigerlites and women of reproductive age as a result of merger public expenditure on health, there is need for upward review of the allocation to the health sector and a dedicated budget code for Family Planning, hence to protect the health and safety of women of reproductive age and girls in the state”.
He explained that the budget analysis by the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @ Scale showed 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 and revised in the 2020 budget.
Dr. Yabagi noted that SPHCDA budget from the assessment represents 33.57% of the total health budget compared to 39.96% in the revised 2020 budget”.
He added 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).”
Furthermore, he queried that the analysis of the budget showed that just like the revised 2020 budget, the 2021 proposed budget neither has budget lines for Family Planning, IMCI, and routine immunization nor any funding commitments.
He lamented that the above implies that with merger public expenditure on the health sector, citizens are likely responsible for their healthcare needs and this will have catastrophic consequences for Nigerlites.
The Project Director then called on the State Government and State Assembly as well as stakeholders to review upwards what is allocated to the sector in the 2021 proposed budget.