NGO urges Niger Govt to increase budgetary allocation to health



Minna-based NGO, Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health Services (CCRHS), has said that more women may die from pregnancy and childbirth related complications in Niger, if the government failed to increase allocation to the state’s health sector.

Dr Aliyu Shehu, Project Director CCRHS, who made the statement on Saturday, while speaking with newsmen in Minna, argued that the N9.8 billion, representing only 6.5 per cent, allocated to healthcare in the 2021 budget was inadequate, and should therefore be reviewed upward.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello had proposed a budget of N151.2 billion for the 2021 fiscal year.

Shehu said that what was allocated to health was far below the Abuja declaration of 15 per cent allocation to health, adding, “There is need to provide adequate allocation to the health sector and a budget line for family planning.

“The measure will enhance the achievement by Niger state of its 2017 family planning blueprint commitment of increasing the state’s Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) from 6.6 per cent to 25 per cent”

“In order to avoid catastrophic consequences for 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 sector and a dedicated budget code for family planning, to protect the health and safety of women of
reproductive age and girls in the state,” the CCRHS director said.

The Project Director queried the 2021 proposed budget for not having any budget lines for family planning, Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), routine immunisation and many other funding commitments.

As a consequence, he said, the meagre public expenditure on the health sector indicates that citizens were likely to be responsible for their healthcare needs.

An analysis of the budget by the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health @ Scale, Shehu said had shown that there were cuts in the allocation to the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), whose capital budget slightly increased by 0.54 per cent, but its recurrent budget stood at only 48.57 per cent, less than the N932 million approved and revised in the 2020 budget.

From the assessments of the SPHCDA budget, Shehu noted, it represented only 33.57 per cent of the total health budget as against the 39.96 per cent in the revised 2020 budget, while the capital budget represented 38.38 per cent of the total health capital budget in the proposed 2021 budge,t as against the 35.43 per cent in the revised 2020 budget.

He therefore, called on the state government, State Assembly and other stakeholders to review upwards what is allocated to the sector in the 2021 proposed budget.
(NAN)