As the Kaduna State House of Assembly begins work on the 2019 budget proposal submitted to it by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the implementing partners of Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) on Wednesday advocated for upward review of some thematic areas of the health budget.
The PACFaH partners including Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN) and Society for Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Nigeria (SOGON) during an advocacy visit to the state house of assembly committee on health lamented that the 2019 budget proposal shows a significant decrease of N210million and N170million in Maternal and New Born Child Health (MNCH) and Routine Immunization (RI) respectively from the 2018 budget.
According to the budget figures made available by the group, N1.7billion was budgeted by the state government for MNCH in 2018 while N1.5billion was proposed for 2019. Similarly, N360million was budgeted for RI in 2018 while N190million was proposed for 2019.
Presenting their case before the health committee, the first vice president of SOGON, Dr. Habib Sadauki said the essence of the courtesy visit was to demand for an upward review in four thematic areas including family planning, routine immunization, primary healthcare under one roof and MNCH.
“This is the time for budgeting. We observed that in the last three years, there has been improvement in the budget, but if you look at what is expected as target to reach for the various indices like the Routine Immunization for children against major preventable killer diseases, the state is not yet on national target of 80 percent and to attain that national target, there is need for more money. For family planning, the state government has committed itself to 46.5 percent coverage, but at the moment, the state is at 24 percent,”
“We want the lawmakers to look into all of these because if we must save our mothers and children under age five, we must improve the functions of the primary healthcare centres, more funds are needed while the lawmakers also need to perform their oversight function effectively to ensure that monies allocated are released, cash backed in good time and used appropriately,” he said.
Responding, the chairman, house committee on health, Honourable Isaac Zankhai, commended the efforts of the group, assuring that the assembly will close the identified gaps.
He also reaffirmed Governor El-Rufai’s commitment to ensuring better health for the people, particularly women and children. He however identified economic challenge as a major factor responsible for the budget shortfall.
“We will continue within our financial strength to ensure that our women and children don’t suffer or die preventable deaths,” he assured.
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