The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said on Tuesday that inadequate funding of the health sector by the Federal Government had made Nigeria a laughing stock before the global community.
He cited a specific case with the 2016 budget, which the minister said had the health sector funding further reduced by 33 per cent.
He noted that unless there was a remarkable improvement in 2017, the challenges in the health sector could only worsen.
Adewole spoke at a public hearing organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services on how to avert a crisis in primary healthcare delivery in the country.
The committee is chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Imo State, Mr. Chike Okafor. The minister said, “We became a laughing stock globally when the 2016 health budget was reduced by 33 per cent.
“The impression is that we are not a serious nation. Each time we talk about primary healthcare, we talk about a pyramid. “PHC as the foundation, secondary institutions as the building and tertiary institutions as the roof.
“Without the foundation, the pyramid will not stand.” The government had budgeted N221.7billion for the health sector this year out of the total national budget of N6.06trillion.
In 2015, the health budget was about N259.7bn, up from N216.4bn in 2014.
The percentage of the country’s total budget spent on the health sector has hovered between 4.4 per cent and 5.5 per cent over the years, as against the globally-recommended 15 per cent.
The minister also spoke on reports indicating that the $400million donor funds for polio eradication had been stolen. He denied that the money was stolen, though Adewole admitted that it was possible the money was not well-managed.
Source: Punch Newspaper.