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ANHEJ advocates for increased budgetary allocation to health sector

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…says N1.33 trillion of proposed 2024 budget abysmally low

…urge FG to implement 15 percent Abuja Declaration to health sector

The Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to implement 15 percent of the ‘Abuja Declaration’ of its country’s annual budget to the health sector to curb the increasing rate of maternal mortality deaths in the country.

President of the Association Joseph Kadiri gave the charge during the opening of the 7th annual conference of ANHEJ on Thursday 7th December 2023 in Nasarawa state.

He said the allocation of N1.33 trillion representing five percent of the entire 2024 Proposed Budget is abysmally low and harped on the need to deploy more funds to the health sector to ensure the full implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF).

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Joseph while lamenting the federal government’s inability to draw lessons from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic despite the already strategizing effort seen from many countries towards mobilizing resources to curb future epidemics, added that prioritizing adequate funds will boost health security for the attainment of universal health coverage.

“This conference brings together stakeholders from both the public and private space in the health sector to examine the federal government’s efforts to tackle the country ‘s poor health indices such as the maternal mortality rate which is still among the highest in the world, with an estimated 512 deaths per 100,000 live births, a high under-five mortality rate of 117 per 1, 000 live births, and the rate of women that deliver outside health facilities at over 65%, among other statistics.”

Meanwhile, the Country Director BudgIT Gabriel Okeowo represented by Rachael Abuja, the Vice President of the ANHEJ dwelling on Sub-theme: 3 “Improving access to healthcare: the role of the Primary Health Care (PHCs).” called for a collective approach to ensuring that PHCs are well-equipped and accessible to all even as he urges for storytelling that will enhance the positive impact of community-based PHCs on areas that require urgent attention.

“In a nation where access to quality healthcare remains a paramount concern, the role of PHCs cannot be overstated. These community-based healthcare centers serve as the cornerstone of our healthcare system, acting as the first line of defense and support for individuals and families. Sub-theme 3 underscores the imperative of enhancing access to healthcare through the pivotal role played by PHCs.

” Let us use this platform to foster a dialogue that identifies obstacles and propels us toward actionable solutions. By advocating for the role of PHCs in improving healthcare accessibility, we contribute to the overarching goal of a healthier and more resilient nation.

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” I encourage each one of you to actively engage in discussions, share insights, and collaborate on ideas that will shape the narrative around Sub-theme 3 and, in turn, drive positive changes in our healthcare landscape.”

The event was put together to award personalities who have made an impact in promoting health security in various ministries and agencies.

On receiving the award, the Director General National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Prof. Moji Adeyeye represented by the Special Adviser NAFDAC Nantim Dadi, and the ex-executive Secretary, Dr, Faisal Shuaib of the National Primary Health Care and Development Agency represented by Mohammad Ohitoto while noting the ANHEJ contribution to the country’s polio-free certification, stressing that adequate communication is key to eliminating diseases and sicknesses in the country.

The theme of the 3 days conference is “Health Security: Nigeria’s Efforts to Achieve Universal Health Coverage”, with the sub-themes on several burning health issues, aimed at taking stock of progress and challenges to critical areas that require urgent attention, particularly on the current diphtheria outbreak which has claimed over 600 lives from over 7, 000 cases.

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