… calls for review
A group of Civil Society Organization under the auspices of The Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP), has expressed shock over the sharp decrease in the amount appropriated for health sector in the 2017 Lagos State budget proposal while calling for an urgent review.
It would be recalled that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, on December, presented the 2017 Lagos state budget proposal of N813 billion to the state House of Assembly. Although the entire budget increased by N150 billion when compared to the 2016 budget of N662.6bn, the health budget reduced from N64bn (9.76 percent of the budget in 2016), to N57.29bn (7.05 percent in 2017). This is a far cry from the targeted 15 percent health budget pledge made in 2001 by African heads of States.
Reacting to this, one of the CSOs, Barr. Ayo Adebusoye, expressed dismay over the actual decrease of the health budget in 2017.
“This gives the unfortunate impression that health is not being prioritized in the state-especially when being compared with the less financially endowed state like Bauchi which has allocated a whopping 16% of its entire 2017 budget to health.
Lagos state is in need of great investment in health due to the high maternal and child mortality rate of the state so any reduction in health budget is something we should be concerned about.
“There are critical areas that needs to be budgeted for; areas that have to do with maternal and new born health (MNH). For instance, we need an increase in family planning consumable budget, to make sure it’s free so that there can be an increase in uptake in order to meet the FP target blue print”, he said.
Since the budget is still not approved, the group called on Lagos state government to review it or create a supplementary budget for maternal and newborn health issues.
They reminded governor Ambode of his promise to fully implement the community health insurance scheme which he said will begin in the first quarter of this year.
According to them, most Lagosian pay out of pocket for health hence the health insurance scheme will help solve the problem of high medical bills.
The CSOs also called the attention of Lagos State government to the lack of adequate midwives and qualified doctors at Lagos health facilities.
“according to them, evidence from the state ministry of health indicates that there is insufficient midwives and qualified doctors at health facilities, there is also poor uptake of antenatal care before 20 weeks pregnancy as well as poor family planning uptake in the state. Based on this, we request that the Ministry of Health should increase awareness and mobilize communities to increase the uptake of antenatal care before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Lagos State Government should increase the availability of essential drugs for maternal and newborn babies in public health facilities in Lagos State, it should ensure functional blood bank that can screen and store blood in all secondary facilities in Lagos State”, the group said.