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Group Raises Alarm over Nigeria’s Dwindling Health Care. Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health in Nigeria, PACFaH, a coalition of eight indigenous non-governmental organisations working on different areas of child and family health in Nigeria, yesterday decried the poor funding of health programmes in the country, saying this is already taking a dangerous toll on the health of the nation’s women and children.
In a visit to National Mirror headquarters in Lagos yesterday, representatives of different NGOs in the coalition maintained that the little gains made so far by the country, such as the reduction in maternal and under-5 deaths, are already being eroded following government’s poor budgetary allocation, non-release of funds and gradual withdrawal of funds by donor agencies due mainly to poor implementation of the country’s health programmes.
However, Dr. Ejike Oji, Country Director, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, AAFP, said Nigeria’s maternal death ratio, which had reduced from 700 to about 400 deaths per 100,000 women, had already increased to about 570 per 100,000 women, adding that Nigeria still has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.
Noting that the death of women could be drastically reduced if more women in the country embraced family planning, he regretted that Nigerian government had left the provision of family planning commodity largely in the hands of donors. He urged the Federal Government to provide at least 50% of required funds needed for family planning commodity and sustain the Federal Ministry of Health budget line it.
Oji said the previous administration’s pledge to fund FP to the tune of $11.3 million with immediate release of $3m which till date, was not released.
He however expressed optimism that the Federal Government would allocate a considerable amount of funds to the purchase of FP commodity in the 2016 budget and also ensure timely release of such funds in view of the precarious situation the nation has found itself.
On Family Planning as a major way for Nigeria to curb the rising maternal mortality profile, Mrs Anuoluwapo Rotimi of Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria, HERFON, said some state governments do not have budgetary provisions for family planning as they depend on donors.
“We want the governments to stop depending on donors and look inwards for the purchase of FP commodity,” she said. On routine immunisation (RI), Ms. Ndidi Chukwu, a programme officer with the Community Health and Research Initiative, CHR, noted that while Nigeria has been able to sustain its vaccine availability from 2014, the country is still faced with the problem of insufficient funds.
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