2017 Budget: House Decries Low Allocation To Health Sector

House of Representatives, Health, 2017 budgetThe House of Representatives has faulted the allocation of 304 billion naira to the health sector in the 2017 budget.

The Chairman of House Committee on Health Services, Chike Okafor, expressed his disapproval for the allocation on Monday at the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The lawmaker was speaking at a meeting of lawmakers, health workers and representatives of donor agencies, where they discussed how to ensure the speedy revitalisation of primary healthcare centres across Nigeria.

Representative Okafor said that the funds allocated to the Ministry of Health would not in any way address the needs in the sector.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s revitalisation programme of about 1,000 primary healthcare centres as one of the needs in the sector.

Meanwhile, the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, and the Deputy Director of Family Health Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ovuoraye John, commended the revitalisation programme.

They stated that the programme would address the challenges of manpower and equipment faced by the centres.

The experts, however, said that the programme must be backed by support from both the Federal Government and international agencies.

Other participants noted that although there was 80% improvement in terms of capital expenditure of the 2017 budget compared to that of 2016, the proposed health budget was cumulatively lower than that of 2016 due to naira devaluation.

Plateau State Records Four Deaths From Lassa Fever

Lassa Fever, Plateau StatePlateau State has recorded cases of Lassa fever disease at two hospitals in Jos, the state’s capital.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kamshak Kunden, said four deaths were recorded from five reported cases of the disease which occurred in January.

He revealed that three deaths were recorded at the Jos University Teaching Hospital while the other patient died at the Bingham Teaching Hospital, all in Jos.

Dr. Kunden attributed the high mortality rate to late presentation of patients to healthcare facilities.

He explained that Lassa fever is best managed when patients start taking the drug within the first week of contracting the disease.

The Commissioner stated further that getting the drug to manage the disease was difficult as it was not sold in the open market.

He said that the Ministry of Health had commenced sensitisation in the 17 local government areas of the state, to enlighten the people on how to prevent the disease.

Primary Health Care: Senate To Probe Usage Of Donor Funds

Senate-NigeriaThe Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases is set to probe funds meant for polio eradication in Nigeria.

The committee has alleged irregularities in the handling of over 420 million dollars global funds.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa, spoke with journalists on Monday as part of events marking the World Polio Day.

He said the committee would also check to see how the $1.5 million recently disbursed to 36 states in the country was utilized, to guard against the resurgence of polio.

The Senator said that it is important that donor funds are well spent and that funds meant for citizens reach those that need them.

The Geneva-based Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) had indicted Nigeria for alleged misapplication of funds donated for immunization of children against polio in the country.

Also, the Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency were implicated in a fraud audit conducted by GAVI, in which over $400 million disbursed for procurement of vaccines was alleged to have been grossly abused by Nigerian officials.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also urged Nigeria to strengthen its primary healthcare system in other to curb the spread of wild polio virus in the northeast to other parts of the country.

The Chief of Health for UNICEF in Nigeria, Mr John Agbor made the appeal at another news conference in Abuja to mark the 2016 World Polio Day.

He explained that this has become important to enable Nigeria consolidate on the little gains already made in its effort to eradicate the virus.

Nigeria’s polio–free certification suffered a major setback in August 2016, when four new cases of wild polio virus were reported in the north east.

Abia Governor’s Wife Advocates For Sickle Cell Anemia Awareness

sickle cellThe wife of the Abia State Governor, Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu has advocated the need for residents of the state to be aware of Sickle Cell Anemia.

She expressed her concern and worry over the increasing number of children affected by the disease which according to her can be prevented if parents do the needful.

The Permanent Secretary, Abia State Ministry of Health, Mr Nkwachukwu Agomuo stated that the State Ministry of Health and other health foundation are in collaboration with the wife of the governor, to put an end the significant health and social burden the disease is posing on Nigerian families.

In Nigeria, about two percent of the population estimating about four million people are affected by the Sickle Cell Disease with almost thirty percent carrying the Sickle Cell traits while less than ten percent of the children affected may likely die before the age of ten years.