Global Fund, CSOs Lament Funding Gaps in Nigeria’s Health Sector
The Global Fund and the Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) have expressed concern over the slow pace of execution of intervention programmes in the health sector due to deficiency of funds.
Speaking to THISDAY shortly after the Quarterly Focused Media Dissemination meeting of ACOMIN in Abuja, the Representative of the Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund, Tajudeen Ibrahim, said so far very limited progress had been achieved in the fight against malaria which is one of the deadliest vector-driven disease in Nigeria despite great opportunities to eradicate the scourge.
Apart from not being able to procure adequate anti-malaria drugs, he said there was also poor resource mobilisation to finance both procurement of needed facilities and personnel.
For instance, he said in 2020, federal, states and Local government were supposed to come together to make sure that,
“we mobilise resources that is enough looking at the National Malaria Strategic Plan, to finance the plan.”
He noted that with all the efforts, Nigeria was able to buy SP drugs worth of N98.8 million which was about 330,000 cases of the commodity. This just about 1.29 percent of the country total need.
In addition, Ibrahim said government was expected to procure $300 million loan from the World Bank, the Islamic Bank and the African Development Bank.
According to him, the implementation is supposed to have started since last year but because of lack of political will, approval has been granted by the National Assembly but the Federal Ministry of Health is yet grant it’s approval.
He said that the country needs to exhibit the “right political will not just by words of mouth but through action and following through with our commitment because the people that are supposed to benefit from this impact project have been shortchanged considering the timeline set for the programme”.
Ibrahim explained that the reason this period is the right time to embark on media is because it is the political campaign era to get the political aspirants to understand the importance of funding health projects and for them to queue into it.
According him, Nigerians should begin to interrogate the aspirants on what they have offer them in the health sector.
Speaking on the progress made in the malaria Intervention campaign, Ibrahim said that a lot of efforts have devoted to achieving malaria control but that it is important shift emphasis to elimination of the malaria scourge in the country.
While giving update on the activities of the malaria Intervention campaign the National Coordinator of ACOMIN, Mr. Ayo Ipinmoye lamented the funding inadequacies in the health sector which he said had adversely affected the smooth implementation of the anti- malaria programme in the country.
He also lamented that Nigeria had not been able to allocate up to 15 per cent of the country’s national budget to health in over 20 years.
Ipinmoye urged Nigerians to demand concrete health agenda from politicians currently jostling for leadership positions in 2023. He said there was need for governments to show the right political will in the fight against malaria.
“Political will has been said to be the tenacity of a political actor to do and say things that will produce a desired result. Most of the factors that affect the lives and health of the general populace are determined by the political leadership.
“Due to the level of influence such leaders have by virtue of their positions, their priorities affect what gets adequate attention and what does not.
“It was against this backdrop that, in 2001, members of the African Union held a conference in Abuja, to critically review and assess the situation and consequences of some of the diseases ravaging Africa.
“One of the resolutions made at this meeting was that the African countries that were present would begin to allocate at least 15 per cent of their respective annual budgets to improve the health sector. This has since come to be known as The Abuja Declaration which Nigeria has consistently not met up with,” he said.
Ipinmoye further said that, “electing a political leader who appreciates and understands the importance and urgency with which the health systems need to be strengthened is more likely to facilitate the attainment of that goal – beginning with making adequate budgetary allocation to health – compared to a leader who does not see health of the populace as a priority.
“ACOMIN graciously commends the politicians who have responded immensely to the successes recorded thus far and calls on all stakeholders to emulate and contribute their own quota towards strengthening the health systems especially at the primary health care levels.
“As the nation prepares for the next presidential elections, Nigerians should consider what contributions each aspirant has made to health in the past and assess the person’s intentions towards the health sector before voting.
“Fighting malaria is fighting poverty, illness and death and thus must be prioritised in the forthcoming elections,” he said.