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NGO Tasks FG On 15% Annual Budget For Health

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With the commitment made by the Nigerian government to allocate 15 percent of the annual budget to health sector in order to improve lives of women and children following the 2001 Abuja Declaration, Save the Children International (SCI), a not-for-profit organization has called for fulfilment of that pledge.

Addressing journalists in Lagos during a presentation tagged: “Existing Global Maternal Newborn and Child Health and Commitment by the Government of Nigeria”, the co- chairman, Lagos State Accountability Mechanism on Maternal and Newborn Child Health, Mr Ayo Adebusoye, said in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal Three, the federal government should fulfil its commitment of 15 percent of the annual budget to the health sector which currently is 5.6 percent.

He said Goal Three calls for healthy live and promotes well-being for all ages, aimed to achieve a reduction of the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Adebusoye said, “by 2030, it targets to end preventable deaths of children under the age of five with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least, as low as 12 per every 1,000 live births and under five mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.

“By 2030, end the epidemic of AIDS, Tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water borne diseases and other communicable diseases.

“Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services which includes; family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.

“By 2030, achieve universal health coverage, which includes; financial risk protection, access to quality and essential health care, and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”.

Commenting on Primary Health Care, PHC, under one roof policy by the government, Adebusoye said, inspite of the potential capacity of the PHC to meet the health needs of majority of Nigerians, over the years the outcomes have been sub-optimal owing to the weak system particularly at the implementation level.

Lending her voice, the Advocacy Officer, SCI, Adetokunbo Lawrence, while giving the state of maternal mortality in the country said that according to United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, report of 2016, under five mortality rate was 109 per 1,000 live birth while, newborn mortality rate was 34 per 1,000 live birth.

She also said, quoting the National Demographic Health Survey, NDHS, report of 2013, that 63 percent of deliveries happen without the presence of a skilled birth attendant while the same report stated that two skilled health workers was for every 1,000 people, adding that, in 2015, the health budget was 6.25 percent and 4.64 percent in 2016.