Improve funding to strengthen health systems, govts urged

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Rakiya A.  Muhammad

RMTIMENG—Stakeholders have urged federal and state governments to improve health funding and ensure the release of the resources to strengthen the health systems.

They reiterated the need to allocate at least 15 percent of the annual budget to the sector in line with the 2001 Abuja Declaration.

On April 27 April 2001, African governments pledged to allot at least
a 15 percent annual budget to the health sector.

In Nigeria, government health budgets have continually failed to meet that target.

Speaking at a one-day capacity building workshop on Health Governance Reporting for journalists in Sokoto State, USAID IHP Knowledge
Management Specialist Aisha Sani underscored the need to improve
health systems and outcomes.

She said the USAID Integrated Health Program (IHP), a USAID/Nigeria
funded five-year (2019 – 2024) activity aims at supporting the Government of Nigeria in using its resources to strengthen the Health Systems to deliver evidence-based high impact Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health + Malaria and Nutrition (RMNCH+ NM) interventions for
improved access to and quality of PHC services in supported Sokoto
State.

“By the end of this program, USAID expects Sokoto State to have
strengthened health systems that deliver evidence-based high impact
RMNCH interventions resulting in improved maternal and child health
status,” she stated.

“The conceptual framework includes a demonstration of state commitment
to prioritising maternal and child health through costed health plans
and increased share of state and LGA budgets for health.”

The specialist added that the IHP’s purpose is to reduce child and
maternal mortality and increase the capacity of health systems to
sustainably support quality PHC services in Bauchi, Kebbi, Sokoto,
Ebonyi, FCT.

Speaking of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), Financing
Advisor, Mainasara Bello, explained that it serves to increase the fiscal space and overall financing to the health sector to assist Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) He disclosed that in Sokoto, they trained 1220 Primary Healthcare
staff on BHCPF revised guidelines with support from USAID-IHP, adding
that National Primary Health Care Development Authority verified and
satisfied 193 health facilities to begin the BHCPF program.

Leadership and Governance Advisor Dr Abdulkadir Ladan noted mass media function as a catalyst to promoting health at the state, local
government areas and communities level, urging them to redouble their
efforts in that direction.

“Mass media can influence health behaviours and can promote health
behavior change,” he pointed out.
“Both the amount and the type of information presented in the media
can shape our beliefs, attitudes, and perceived norms, which, in turn,
influence behaviors.”

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