By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Wife of Niger State Governor, Dr. Amina Abubakar Sani Bello has said budgetary provisions for the health sector without proper and actual releases of funds has hampered the realisation of the laudable policy for free healthcare delivery for women and children in the state.
Dr. Amina, a Pediatrician, noted that no matter how laudable and attractive a health policy could be, if it is not properly funded, it’s intended goals and thrust could be a mirage and a mere paper work.
She canvassed for improved and timely release of funds for the state health sector as enshrined in budgeted in the 2016 state appropriation even as current fiscal year is in it’s last quarter lap.
She lamented that inadequate funding of the health sector in the state despite budgetary provision has made it almost impossible for policies targeted at maternal healthcare issues to remain on the drawing board while cost of healthcare delivery remains above the reach of most women. Especially women to have their medical needs attended to and where the services are available it is always above their reach access the sector.
The wife of the Governor spoke on Friday while playing host to members of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) Project who were on a courtesy visit to her.
As a medic, Dr. Amina said “we are seriously constrained by poor funding despite what is contained in the budget. She said because of the paucity of funds, even what was appropriated for in the budget was not enough to address the myriad challenges in the sector adding that not much may be redressed.
She said governments must have a rethink of how to properly fund the sector or else those in charge of healthcare delivery may not be able to achieve anything. “I hope the proposal scales through otherwise we may not make much impact in meeting the health needs of the people” she said while talking about the appropriations for the next fiscal planning.
The wife of the Governor commended her visitors and even pledged her continuous support in speaking out for more funding to the health sector particularly for primary healthcare delivery and for women’s course.
Team leader of the FOMWAN PACFaH, Dr. Halima Shehu had earlier enlisted the assistance of the wife of the state Governor to help in ameliorating four major health challenges in infant and maternal mobility cases that were hydra headed and confronting families in the country.
Dr. Halima enjoined the state government to ensure adequate funding of the healthcare sector in the state and work towards implementing its healthcare delivery policy.
Meanwhile, the state’s Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Mustapha Jibril has disclosed that for the 2017 fiscal year, his Ministry has proposed a budget of N20 Billion for health sector in the state.
The Commissioner disclosed this while speaking at a one day stakeholders’ meeting on “Adequate Funding for the Health Sector in the 2017”. The meeting was organised by a non governmental organization, the Civil Society Scaling -Up Nutrition in Nigeria, (CS-SUNN).
Speaking through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Ibrahim Tiffin, the Commissioner advocated for increased budgetary allocations to the health sector in the state.
He stressed that only through a proper funding of the sector could many problems of the society be redressed. Good healthy population he noted is an asset to any country.
He expressed worry that the healthcare delivery sector of the state had continued to suffer poor funding even as annual budgetary allocations to the sector have been dwindling from N5.49 Billion in 2011 to N3.85 Billion in 2015.
The Coordinator of the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka in her brief remarks, appealed to the state government to improve on its social accountability particularly to the Health Sector.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.