To avert the death of approximately one million children and women annually from preventable diseases in Nigeria, stakeholders in child and family health services have called for upward review of budgetary allocation and prompt release of funds for health to ensure improved healthcare services at the primary level.
At a gathering in Lagos last week, during the 2017 Pre-Budget Meeting with Directors of Health Planning, Research, Statistics and Finance from Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa and Oyo States, they called for transparency in budget and public finance management towards40— enabling the country achieve its SDG 3 targets.
Expressing their displeasure over the continued deaths of Nigeria children and women, they urged the three tiers of government to ensure increased allocation to health in the 2017 Budget as well as comply with the statutory allocation for Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, BHCPF, as enshrined in the National Health Act 2014.
Speaking during the meeting, the Programme Director (Strategy), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health, PACFaH, Pharm. Remi Adeseun pointed out that with adequate funding some of the challenges leading to the death of children and women could be prevented.
Adeseun said: “In Nigeria, 111 women and girls die daily from pregnancy and childbirth related causes due to high unintended pregnancies and low use of contraceptives. Increased uptake of modern family planning services will contribute to the reduction of about 33 percent of MMR, 25 percent under-5 mortality. About 1.6 million unintended pregnancies will be averted yearly as well as 400, 000 infant deaths and 700, 000 child deaths.”
“One in five Nigerian children that dies before their 5th birthday is due to a vaccine preventable disease. Vaccination as a health intervention has saved millions of Nigerian children. We can keep saving the lives of our children instead of burying them through inadequate funding for routine immunization in the country. “The government needs to create specific budget lines for procurement of essential commodities, timely release of allocated funds, capacity building for front-line health workers on the proper use of the recommended drugs.”
On his part, the Project Director, Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo identified malnutrition as a silent killer of Nigeria children and also reduces their cognitive function. Okoronkwo called for creation of specific budget line for nutrition in the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Education and other related sector ministries and implementation of National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition.