The Resource Center for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) a knowledge-driven platform of active citizens committed to ensuring accountability and good governance in Nigeria, Monday urged members of the Kano State House of Assembly to increase the state`s health sector budget for improved access to quality maternal and child healthcare services and ensure accountability in its implementation.
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Speaking at a public hearing on Kano`s 2019 budget, Executive Director of CHRICED Ibrahim Zikirullahi said, in spite of the Kano state government`s free maternal healthcare programme which was aimed at addressing maternal and child mortality in the state; Kano had failed to significantly reduce maternal deaths due to poor governance and misappropriation of resources.
“We observed that weak governance of the programme has led to poor outcomes in terms of the capacity of the programme to reach poor and marginalized citizens in the underserved rural communities of the state. The result is that the Kano State government has failed to achieve reductions in maternal deaths beyond the marginal gains recorded by ad-hoc interventions, which are mostly driven in large parts by donor efforts and funding. The implication is that the maternal health situation still remains dire, in spite of the huge quantum of resources being devoted to health interventions.
“Therefore, while CHRICED calls for more funds for the health sector in the 2019 budget, we equally demand for serious legislative oversight to bring about behavioral change across the supply side of the accountability chain, in order to follow the rules of proper corporate governance in the administration of primary health/maternal funds. We also call [on] the Assembly to revisit the Free Maternal and Newborn Health Bill submitted to you by CHRICED alongside other well-meaning civil society organisations in Kano State,” said Zikirullahi.
He added that, as a matter of urgency, the 2019 budget for Kano state must also address the issues of youth unemployment in the state. “The precarious situation of drug abuse in Kano State is a clarion call to the governance systems to urgently create opportunities for young people. This point is pertinent because young people constitute over 90 percent of the abusers of drugs,” he said.