The World Health Organization in its wisdom recommended that countries should allocate at least 13 per cent of their annual budget to the health sector for effective funding, as part of efforts to close the huge health funding gap by governments to its citizens, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. All member countries, including Nigeria signed towards this recommendation.
Also the Abuja Declaration, signed in 2001 by all member countries of the African Union, including Nigeria, who in fact was the host of the high powered meeting, recommended that for the continent to be at par with other nations of the world in terms of healthcare provision, 15 per cent of their annual budget, at the least, be allocated to the health sector.
Fifteen (15) years down the line, here is how some African countries have fared…..
Rwanda reportedly devoted 18 per cent of its total 2016 budget to healthcare. Botswana budgeted 17.8 per cent to health; Malawi, 17.1 per cent, Zambia, 16.4 per cent and Burkina Faso, 15.8 per cent. But Nigeria still lags way behind (4.64 per cent) in this regard, which has had direct consequences on the funding capacity of the Health Ministry, thereby making the fight against poor healthcare somewhat unrealistic.
This puts Nigeria as one of the nations of the world with the least healthcare spending per head when compared with other countries, especially in Africa. These indices perhaps explain why experts believe the recent allocated amount for the health sector in the 2017 budget was done in bad faith, hence the need for it to be revisited, while other funding options are looked into, especially with the gradual withdrawal of some donor organizations.
The major challenges the ministry of Health is having is poor budgetary allocation to the sector, hence the need for the government to up its game so that needless deaths can be prevented through adequate funding.
We demand the government fulfill the Abuja declaration! Increase budgetary allocation to health sector, 15% is not too much, 4 % is too little!