*Urges FG to close funding gaps
By Doosuur Iwambe
Coordinator, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr Aminu Magashi, has decried the funding gap of $600,000 in the Reproductive Health and Family Planning (FP) budget, saying it will have an adverse effect on FP activities in the country.
Dr Magashi who was speaking during an exclusive interview with the Daily Times said, to close the funding gaps especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the federal government should prioritise family planning activities in Nigeria.
While stressing that expanding access to family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) services is one of the best investments a country can make, he outlined the implications of the funding gap to include less procurement of adequate family planning commodities for the Nigerian women.
He lamented that women especially those living in rural and hard to reach areas will not be protected against unwanted pregnancies, pregnancy complications and other health issues relating to reproductive health.
“The funding gap in the RH/FP budget has its implications. What this implies is that the procurement of FP commodities will be less.
Instead of getting adequate commodities for our Nigerian women, with the gap we are going to get fewer amounts of commodities.
Many women will be disenfranchised from getting the free FP commodities that Nigeria is collaborating with the United Nations to procure and distribute all over the country.
“This will also pose a huge threat because our women will not be protected against unwanted pregnancies, pregnancy complications and other serious reproductive health issues. These are some of the effects of the funding gap to the FP budget.
“For us to overcome these challenges, we will have to look for additional money either from partners, corporate and independent bodies to be able to meet up with the funding gap to ensure that family planning commodities are made accessible and available to every woman in need of such commodities.”
He said it was unfortunate that those in authority lack the political will to tackle challenges confronting the health sector.
He said the entire 2020 budget for the health sector was just between 4-5 percent of the overall national budget.
According to him, the total sum of the budget is not enough to carter for the needs of Nigerians at national level.
He said, “The Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) that is supposed to be 1 percent of total revenue has moved down from last year, which is about N44bn to N35bn in 2020 allocated to the BHCPF.
In addition, even when the N35bn will be released, it will be distributed through a different national agency to the state government.
“If you also look, at the issue of Covid-19, which has disrupted so many services, a lot of health workers have not been provided with adequate Personal Protective Equipment, and there is not enough water sanitation and hygiene facilities in our hospitals.
All these will have a negative effect on the health sector.”