Experts in health economics have called for appropriate budgeting of existing resources and efficient access to any available finance to increase spending on health care.
It came as health commissioners and lawmakers from target states met in Abuja weekend under the auspices of the US-funded Health Finance and Governance project, the National Health Insurance Scheme and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
"The challenge Nigeria has had is to appropriately use existing funding," said Celeste Carr, advisor at United States Agency for International Development, which funds HFG, commenting on possibility of donor funds drying up.
"If funding does dry up, then we are able to budget the current funding more appropriately."
Sokoto state health commissioner Shehu Takale said government should step up to "die national development with health", insisting funding to health had direct impact with the development of a nation.
He said Sokoto has pushed it health spending to around 13% of its state budget, and that Nigeria getting around to allocate 15% of national budget to health, as recommended by the Abuja Declaration, would tackle wide-ranging maternal and child deaths, and produce "productive workforce that will earn more revenue for the country."
Takale noted financing for health should also focus on results and outcomes, not just inputs.
"Our government should have more money for health, and more health for money," Takale said.
Ekpo Bassey, who chairs a committee on health in Cross River state parliament said, "It is important we realize the import of providing sufficient funds for the health sector."
He cited Cross River's recent institution of a state health insurance scheme built on taxes, grants and donations.
"Our people should not continue to suffer the frustration of having to pay for health care from their pockets or be unnecessarily charged by health providers."
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