Laz Eze, a public health physician and executive director of Pink Oak Cancer Trust, Nigeria’s first cancer treatment fund, has said it was high time health budget advocacy in Nigeria also included ensuring timely releases as well as judicious utilization of funds meant for healthcare, against simply advocating for increase in health budgets.
“It is high-time we also include timely budget releases and efficient utilization of funds in our advocacy; timely releases will help more Nigerians have access to quality healthcare. And when releases are only made during the third or even fourth quarter of the year the funds couldn’t be spent,” lamented Eze who was speaking at the launch of #FundNaijaHealth; a health budget performance campaign being spearheaded by MamaYe-Evidence for Action in Abuja on Monday.
The Evidence for Action (E4A) programme otherwise known as MamaYe is aimed at improving maternal and newborn survival by using evidence and advocacy to drive accountability across Africa; MamaYe-E4A launched the #FundNaijaHealth campaign as an attempt to change Nigeria’s poor budgeting and fund release practices, which it said had many implications for healthcare service delivery in the country.
The launch of the campaign was the highpoint of the 2018 edition of the annual MamaYe Day; dedicated to raising awareness about issues around maternal and newborn health.
In a press statement made available to newsmen prior to the event, MamaYe-E4A noted that despite “significant global progress in healthcare, poor quality of care and sub-optimal accountability around resource allocation has continue to affect healthcare service delivery in Nigeria which has significant social and economic consequences manifesting in a very low life expectancy at birth.”
The #FundNaijaHealth campaign is therefore aimed at getting policymakers to commit the required resources to funding health since resources are central to achieving the overall objective of improving RMNCAH+N. MamaYe-E4A Nigeria seeks to achieve two critical objectives with the campaign: Increased budgetary allocation to health and timely release of budgeted funds.
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