Revealed: Health ministry yet to get 2015 bugetary allocation
● Health budget continues to decline
● Nigeria maintains one of world’s lowest health budget
Less than four months before the end of 2015, the Federal Ministry of Health is yet to receive its budgetary allocation, NHO can authoritatively reveal. Sources at the ministry have confirmed that it has not received any amount from the N4.5 billion approved as health budget for the year.
Just like last year, NHO can reveal that the Ministry has been relying more on funds from donor agencies to implement most of its health projects such as immunisation and HIV/AIDS, among others. The Federal Government had to release some contingent funds in the wake of the Ebola crisis in July 2014 as the ministry could not accommodate extra expenses with the N5, 704, 152, 991 that was released out of the total N9,131, 472, 026 health budget for the year.
Similarly, in 2013, the ministry got only N7, 992, 591, 884 out of the N17, 233 620, 000 budgetary allocation for the sector while only N14, 538, 771, 979 was released out of the total N17, 233, 620, 000 health budget for 2012. This makes Nigeria one of the countries with the lowest budgetary allocation for health.
It will be recalled that heads of state of African Union countries met in Nigeria in April 2001, and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector. The target is often referred to as Abuja Declaration”.
Since then, 27 countries have increased the proportion of total government expenditures allocated to health. However, only Rwanda and South Africa have achieved the “Abuja Declaration” target. In a sharp contrast, Nigeria and six other countries have reduced their relative contributions of government expenditures to health during the period. In 2013 for instance, only 5.6% of Nigeria’s budget was allocated to health and part of this was not released.
In a presentation at the Health Journalist Academy training held at the School of Communication, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, the director, Health Planning Committee, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ngozi Azodo confirmed the non release of the 2015 budgetary allocation to the Ministry. She told the Academy, established by multinational pharmaceutical company, Roche, that health has not been given due priority by the Ministry of Finance.
Dr. Azodo who is also the secretary of the newly established committee on the operation of the National Health Act, however explained that the ministry was forging ahead even with inadequate government funding and non-release of funds in 2015. She disclosed that the committee would soon produce a working guideline on the operation of the National Health Act.
“From the Act, one per cent of the consolidated trust fund would be devoted to health. 50 per cent would be for insurance, 45 per cent for primary health care and 5 per cent for emergency treatment”, she said.
The Health Journalist Academy which is the first of its kind in Nigeria with 15 journalists enlisted, kicked off on Tuesday , 1st of September with a 4- day rigorous training at the Pan- Atlantic University.