Dr Mala Abdulwahab, the Borno Programme Manager of State Emergency and Child Intervention Centre (SEMCHIC), has urged mothers not to believe any claim that there is substitute for breast milk.
Abdulwahab made the call in Maiduguri on Friday during a roundtable with news men on exclusive breastfeeding, organised by an International Organisation, FHI360 in collaboration with National Agency For Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Borno State Primary Healthcare Development Agency.
Abdulwahab said the call became necessary because of some misconceptions that there were substitute for breast milk and richer.
Abdulwahab said infants were expected to be breastfed within 30 minutes or one hour after birth which should be sustained for six months before adding any supplements approved by NAFDAC in feeding the child.
“We are advocating that immediately after birth, a child should be given the first breast milk which is yellowish in colour.
“We call it cholesterol; it is the first vaccine every child needs,” Abdulwahab said.
He said that the roundtable with the media was to seek for more collaboration to encourage exclusive breast feeding in line with Improved Maternal, Infact and Youth Child Nutrition (MIYCN).
The State Coordinator of FHI Solutions, a subsidiary of FHI360, Dr Bashaar Abdul-Baki said the FHI Solution Alive and Thrive Project were Initiatives to save lives.
He said the initiative was also to prevent illness, and ensure healthy growth and development through improved breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.
Abdul-Baki observed that good nutrition in the first 1,000 days from conception to two years of age remained critical to children’s health and productive lives.
He said that the project to be implemented was expected to scale MIYCN in Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Yobe and Lagos states.
The Chief Regulatory Officer of NAFDAC in Borno, Mr Ushadari Kayam, noted that breast feeding remained the most cost effective and impactful interventions for reducing malnutrition and under-five mortality.
He said breastfeeding protected children from infectious and chronic diseases.
“It increases cognitive development and lowers health care costs for families and societies,” Kayam said.
He observed that other roles expected of the media in promoting breast feeding was to know the laws and regulations on marketing breast milk substitutes in Nigeria and to reject any advertisement promoting breast milk substitute products.
World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with Yobe Government,
organised a two-day training for health promotion officers on infodemic.
Dr Nuhu Ningi, the WHO State Coordinator, while addressing participants on Wednesday in Damaturu, said the training is necessary to empower health promotion officers across the 17 local government areas of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that infodemic is a rapid and far-reaching spread of both accurate and inaccurate information about something, such as a disease.
Infodemic also means excessive amount of information, usually not trustworthy, which spreads fast, hindering reliable solutions.
Such information include false or misleading stories in digital and physical environments during disease outbreak.
The WHO coordinator, therefore, said that the training of health promotion officers is apt, for the prevention and prompt response to outbreak to curtail morbidity.
Ningi explained that correct and sound information are vital in transformation of how situations are approached, especially outbreaks in communities.
He added that “when we have distorted information, which is not grounded with science and reason, it will be difficult to curtail any outbreak in the community.
“So, your role as health promotion officers is to provide necessary correct information on how diseases occur, how to prevent the occurrence and how to remain safe during disasters or outbreak situations.
” The WHO official advised participants to pay attention during the training to ensure successful deliberations.
Dr Kundi Machina, the Executive Secretary, Yobe Primary Healthcare Management Board, commended WHO for the collaboration with the state government.
He said at the end of the training workshop, participants should be able to provide appropriate and adequate information on risk communication and how best to curtail various forms of epidemic diseases across the state.
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) on Wednesday said that 2,790 hectares of farmland in Nguru Local Government Area of Yobe were destroyed by flood.
Alhaji Madu Tandari, AFAN Chairman in the area, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Nguru town, that out of this, 1,500 hectares were used for rice cultivation.
Tandari said other crops destroyed on the remaining 1,290 hectares of the land include maize, sesame, millet, tomatoes, pepper and bell pepper.
“In a rice farm, you can harvest about 50 bags on each hectare, if all conditions are met.
“So, you can imagine the magnitude of this disaster,” Tandari said.
The chairman further said 934 farmers affected by the flood, which was allegedly caused by the release of water from the Tiga Dam in Kano. He listed the areas worst hit by the flood to include Nguru town, Dogon Kuka, Dumsai, Gajamma, Disari, Bambori, Kachallari and Dogon Jeji. He therefore appealed to the State and Federal Governments to assist farmers in the area to cushion the losses they recorded.
“As the dry season sets in, we are appealing to government at all levels to support us with seeds, water pumps, fertilizer and soft loans.
“If this support can be provided, we will shift the focus to dry season farming to make up for our losses,” the chairman said.
The Federal Government says it has distributed relief materials to 21 states affected by floods.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development made the declaration in statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement was signed by her media aide, Mrs Nneka Anibeze.
According to the minister, more than 3.2 million persons were reportedly affected by the 2022 floods as at Oct. 24. “More than 1.4 million persons have been internally displaced; 2,776 persons were injured, 612 people lost their lives while 181,600 houses were partially damaged.
“Number of totally damaged houses were 123,807; 176,852 hectares of farmlands were partially damaged, while 392,399 hectares of farmlands have been totally damaged,’’ Farouq said.
She added that distribution of food and non-food items to more states were on-going as government was prepared to assist all the affected states.
“A total of 21 states have received relief materials so far.
They are Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo and the FCT.
“Others are Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Nassarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe. “Specialised teams are on ground.
There are some states and local governments that are inaccessible and hard to reach.
“To address this, we are working with military’s disaster response units and other stakeholders with specialised skills and equipment to reach the hard-to-reach areas and people at risk.
“Materials distributed included rice, beans, maize, garri, vegetable oil, tin tomatoes and seasonings.
“Others are materials to assist with temporary shelters for displaced communities.
“These include roofing sheets, cement, nails, ceiling boards, blankets, nylon mats and zinc,’’ Farouq said.
The minister added that Search-and-Rescue teams had continued to evacuate, relocate and refer victims to hospitals and enjoined other stakeholders to join in the efforts to assist victims.
“The teams which are responsible for evacuating people and providing first aid and medical supports and referrals to hospitals have been able to reach 199 local government areas in 25 states.
“The operations are on-going and I urge communities at risk to adhere to warnings and instructions issued by the teams as they work to protect and save lives.
“We hope that government organs such as Water Resources, Health, Works and Housing, Agriculture and Environment ministries will give their own updates on operations to resolve the emergency.
“I also implore states and local governments to share information with us and also respond in line with the National Flood Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan,’’ she said.
“I commend local communities for their resilience; we received a report that in 144 local government areas, communities worked together to provide the first response for victims.
“A high-level delegation will visit some states next week to follow up on operations and to identify any new challenges and gaps in the operations that needs to be addressed.
“This will enable government to access the situation, provide and meet with victims and families that have been affected,’’ Farouq stressed.
Ebere Ifendu, President, Women in Politics Forum, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called on women in the private sector to increase their support for women in politics.
Ifendu made the call in her presentation during the UN Women Private Sector and Women in Politics Consultative Dialogue, on Tuesday in Lagos.
Ifendu, who was represented by Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole, the immediate past national president of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), said that women should show support for women who would be contesting in the 2023 general elections.
“This show of support must not necessarily come in the form of money, it can be the influence we have on certain constituents that would be essential to the female contestant winning.
“You can use that billboard to help her visibility, invite her on air to speak about her manifesto, attend her rallies, put in a good word for her in a room where it matters, print campaign materials for her and so much more.
“Women in politics forum has recently conducted a research to identify the priority needs of women in Nigeria to form part of the Governance Agenda for an Inclusive Nigeria (GAIN).
“We call on women in the private sector to own this too as it is a demand tool, which Nigerian women will use to engage candidates with a view to creating more spaces for themselves at the decision making table,” she said.
Ifendu recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Sept. 20 released the final list of presidential and national assembly candidates for the 2023 general election.
She said an analysis of the candidates, according to gender, showed that there was only one female candidate for the presidential election.
“This represents just 2.77 per cent of the candidates for the presidential elections with no party fielding a female as the vice-presidential candidate.
“For the senate, out of the 1,101 candidates vying for 109 senatorial seats, 92 are women (8.35 per cent) while 288 women are contesting for House of Representatives seats out of the total 3,122 candidates, representing 9.2 per cent,” she said.
Ifendu said cumulatively, there are 381 women among the total of 4,259 contestants for the presidency (presidential candidates and running mates) and the National Assembly seats.
She said this represented 8.9 per cent of the candidates, adding that currently, there are about 15 states without a female legislator in the states’ houses of assemblies.
Ifendu noted that the released list of candidates did not tell of a promising increase for Nigerian women in the states’ houses of assemblies.
She said while the forum awaited the release of other candidates from INEC, the released list of candidates showed some states that had not fielded any female as a candidate to the National Assembly across the 18 political parties.
“A state-by-state analysis shows that of the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, five states did not field any woman as a candidate to the Senate while one state did not field any woman as a candidate to the House of Representatives.
“The states lacking in this regard are Kano, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara for Senate, and Jigawa for the House of Representatives.
“This means that even without conducting elections, 13.5 per cent of states will not have female representatives at the Senate while 2.7 per cent of states will have no female representation at the House of Representatives,” Ifendu said.
She added that among the states that had fielded female candidates to the National Assembly, 16.2 per cent had only one female candidate for the Senate and 10.8 per cent had only one candidate for the House of Representatives.
The president said only 8.1 per cent of states had nominated a number of women.
She said that she truly appreciated women that had over time created a space for themselves in the private sector.
She said with each achievement they made, women in politics are greatly encouraged.
The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has donated food items and clothes to flood victims in Gombe.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items donated were received by Gombe Deputy Governor Manassah Jatau in Gombe on Tuesday.
Flood that affected Funakaye Local Government Area of Gombe led to the death of 13 people and destruction of many houses .
Alhaji Mohammed Alkali, Managing Director NEDC, who presented the relief materials to the victims through the state government, said they included 10,000 bags of rice, 3,000 gallons of vegetable oil, and 5,000 pieces of blankets.
Others are 5,000 pieces of mats, 5,000 bundles of wrappers, 3,000 bundles of cotton clothes and 3,000 pieces of children’s wears.
According to him, during the recent World Humanitarian Day in Maiduguri, the commission made some pronouncements to support all the six states of the region.
This is in terms of palliative through the Presidential Committee on Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“ We have since handed over that of Borno State to Gov. Babagana Zulum and in Yobe State, to the Deputy Governor Idi Barde Gubana and now to Gombe State,” he said.
In his response, the deputy governor of Gombe, who received the items on behalf of the government, promised that the government would reach the target population.
He thanked the commission for its numerous interventions, saying “ NEDC has been contributing immensely towards improving the lives of citizens of the state and the entire region.
Perennial flooding is one of the most prevalent natural disasters in Nigeria, as more states in the North-East experienced devastating floods during the rainy season.
The Nigeria Metrological Agency (NiMet) in its 2022 Flood Outlook predicted flooding in many states across the country.
The Agency advised governments and the people on safety and preventing measures to avert flooding.
According to some environmentalists, there is a link between increase flood incidences, human factor and climate change.
The experts said that floods triggered by increase volume of rainfall could be controlled with proper planning and deployment of necessary infrastructure.
The noted that human induced factors, poor urban planning practices and inadequate environmental infrastructure are largely responsible for flooding in the country.
During the 2022 rainy season, Nigeria recorded its worst flooding in recent history, thus escalating humanitarian impacts.
Mrs Alice Gombe, General Manager, Adamawa State Urban and Regional Planning Development Board, attributted perennial flooding in North-East to human and physical factors such as poor environmental sanitation and erection of illegal structures on waterways.
According to her, lack of town planning and the inability of town planning agencies to enforce compliance with environmental regulations compounded the situation.
In his contribution; Mohammed Suleiman, Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said flood negatively impacted security and agriculture in the state.
He said the disaster has been recorded across 11 local government areas of the state.
“The disaster affected many farmers and dashed their hope for bumper harvest,” he said.
In Jigawa, Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Sani Yusuf said poor attitude to the environment by the residents contributed to devastating flood in the state.
He said the state government in its response to NiMet early warning, constructed embankments in flood prone areas to control the disaster.
The scribe attributed the floods to vandalisation of the flood control facilities by the people.
“Some residents, who are expected guard the embarkments for thier safety and property, converted the sands used for erecting the structure for personal use.
“Others cut it to channel the blocked water to their farms.
“The government also deployed equipment to clear typhar grass on Hadejia River to ease flow of water to control flooding,” he said.
The DEMA boss urged the Federal Government to dredge the Hadejia River to provide lasting solutions to control perennial flooding in the state.
Statistics of the Jigawa government in its 2022 Wet Season Farmland Flood Assesment showed that the disaster ravaged 1,554 communities and 138,422.36 hectres of farmlands across 22 local government areas of the state.
The report recommended for construction of reservoirs, dams, embankments and spillway, desilt of water ways, afforestation programme as well as food and inputs support to the victims of the disaster.
To address the disaster, Mr Isma’il Bima, Chief Executive Officer, Jewel Environmental Initiative (JEI), a Gombe-based, non-governmental organisation, advocated enforcement of town planning and environmental laws to control the disaster.
Bima said the menace manifested itself due to non compliance or enforcement of environmental laws.
“If there is proper town planning, proper sensitisation of communities on the dangers of flooding, more lives and property would be saved.
“In Kwami, Funakaye, LGAs, people living in the riverine areas, they have been affected heavily with communities displaced.
“When the Dadin Kowa dam project completed, there was clear boundary on areas to be flooded but people encroached, built houses or farm in these areas without regards to possible environmental disaster.
“Government needs to ensure that people do not build on these areas by taking necessary measures to enforce compliance to proper town planning,’’ he said.
He said the impact of the disaster would be minimal when people respect environmental laws and shun erecting structures on water ways.
“For instance; If you look at areas hit by flood in Gombe, Jigawa and Kano States, the people in those communities build without creating proper water channels so that when the rain water comes, it can easily pass”.
He advised governments to carry out detailed assessment of flooding situation in the country in collaboration with key stakeholders and come up with solutions to forestall future occurrences.
“The response of the government to flooding is not enough; beyond issuing warnings and providing relief materials, government should not wait for next year’s rainfall beyond acting’’.
He also called for more awareness creation activities to sensitise communities to understand the impact of flooding, and discourage erecting structures on waterways.
The environmentalist further urged communities to desist from indiscriminate dumping of waste on drains, tree felling and adhere to town planning regulations.
In Yobe, the state government decried spate of deforestation and poor waste management which exposed communities to flooding.
SEMA’s Executive Secretary, Dr Muhammed Goje, said logging and other unfriendly environmental habit aggrevated desertification which also resulted to flood in parts of the state.
“Peaple engage in tree felling without replacing the cut down trees resulting to large scale deforestation in spite of government’s effort to control the menace.
“Some residents are also building structures on waterways without complying to the guidelines of ministry of land and Geographical Information System,” he said.
He said the Agency had sensitised the people in flood prone communities on the flood warning by NiMet and other agencies.
“We issued early warning after receiving alert from NiMet and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), which predicted that Yobe, among other states in the country would likely experience flood.
“However, most of the communities ignored the warnings, which exacerbated effect of the disaster,” he said.
Corroborating the stance, Mr Ibrahim Abdul-Rahman, said that town planners play significant role in flood mitigation to attain sustainable environment.
He charged town planners to work towads creating green settlements where people would be safe and protected against environmental disasters.
“Government at all levels should recruit qualified town planners, train and retrain the exiting ones.
“Effective measures are also necessary to ensure that residents and other land developers obtain building permits before erecting structures”.
Moreso; Dr Manu Joseph, Executive Director, Environs and Tech Consult in Bauchi State, decried spate of non compliance to flood early warning by NiMet and other relevant environmental authorities.
He noted that lack of compliance to Land Use Act aggravated natural disaster effect on the people and the economy.
“This is a serious problem in the country, cities are growing without adequate planning amid poor waste management and population growth,” he said.
According to Joseph, uncontrolled urbanisation and rapid population growth, without the expansion of the necessary infrastructure to address them would exacerbate the destructive force of natural disasters.
Similarly; Malam Yusuf Mai-Abba, Lecturer with the College of Agriculture, Bauchi, said that human induced activities resulted to flood and deforestation ravaging farmlands and the ecosystem.
He stressed the need for sustainable agriculture to meet the increasing demand for food to achieve food security.
“We need to understand the climatic changes around us, how it affect agricultural productivity and rural livelihood.
“The greenhouse emission from gas flaring, open burning, vehicle emissions, deforestation, and use of fossil fuel for cooking are some of the causes of climate change,” he said.
According to him, practicing rain fed agriculture exposed the country vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
“Preparing disaster is generally more cost effective than responding to its aftershocks.
“It should be a priority to design adaptation measures that reduce the cost of climate related disasters and build resilience against future shocks.
“For a place so exposed to calamity, building such resilience is not a matter of choice but of survival,” he said.
The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says it hopes to attain the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Maturity Level 4 Certification, in drug and food regulations.
In a statement on Sunday, NAFDAC”s Media Consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola, said the agency’s Director-General (D-G), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed the plan at the inauguration of NAFDAC’s Ilorin office.
Adeyeye said that the certification would place pharmaceutical products manufactured in Nigeria on a higher pedestal to compete favourably in the global market.
She recalled that at the first quarter of this year, precisely in March, the agency attained Maturity Level 3, adding that, the agency would not rest on its oars until it attained level 4. She said that attainment of level 3 in the WHO Global Benchmarking Tools, had placed NAFDAC among the recognised regulatory agencies in the world.
“It is pertinent to state that these huge achievements will not have been possible without a committed and dedicated workforce, and a very supportive Governing Council.
“The agency is not resting on its oars, but is working assiduously towards the attainment of Maturity Level 4, and the sustenance of its developmental strides,” the D-G was quoted in the statement as saying.
She listed sound infrastructure, standard equipment, conducive working environment for personnel, and accessible office locations for all stakeholders, as key to achieving this target.
Adeyeye said that at the time she assumed office, most of the agency’s offices were sited within the states’ federal secretariats or in rented apartments, noting that this was not good for the corporate image of the agency.
According to her, the situation is also responsible for Micro and Small Medium Enterprises (MSME) businesses, and other stakeholders’ inability to get access to NAFDAC offices.
“NAFDAC was created in 1993 to regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale, and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water, and chemicals.
“To meet the mandate of the agency, the management under my supervision, has embarked on a journey of strengthening NAFDAC through the establishment, implementation, and continuous improvement of its Quality Management System.
“Quality Management System (QMS) in NAFDAC, has transitioned over the years to a robust platform for institutionalising resourceful leadership, evidence-based decision-making, and engagement of a trained and competent workforce.
“With the support of the Presidency, National Assembly, and the NAFDAC Governing Council, we commenced the building of state offices across the country, and seven have been completed.
“We are now in the process of commissioning them beginning with the Kwara State Office, which we are witnessing today to the glory of God.” The NAFDAC boss also disclosed that the Osun State office of the agency had been commissioned, while Ogun, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Yobe and Kebbi, which had been completed, would soon be commissioned.
She said that construction had also commenced in Kano, Edo and Delta states, and the projects were now at varying stages of completion.
Adeyeye said that the Ilorin office of the agency now had a mini hall where it could conveniently relate with the sectoral groups, and also train personnel.
She said that, there was also a warehouse and store where unwholesome regulated products could be kept pending further regulatory activities.
“There is no doubt that the well-equipped office will enhance the activities and operations of the agency within the state, thereby contributing to the economic growth and well-being of the people,” she said.
She expressed appreciation to Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, and the good people of the state for the support NAFDAC had so far received.
“We look forward to an enhanced co-operation and support, as NAFDAC will continue to do its best to safeguard the health of indigenes and residents of Kwara State,” Adeyeye said.
Yobe Emergency Management Agency, on Sunday, assisted 2,000 households displaced by recent flood in Bade Local Government Area of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items included: rice, roofing sheets, cooking oil, cement, ceiling and cash donations of N44,000 to each household.
Distributing the items in Gashua, the agency’s Executive Secretary, Dr Mohammad Goje, said that the support was part of the state’s flood victims’ recovery response.
He said that Gov. Mala Buni had earlier directed the agency to ensure that flood victims were supported in order to cushion their hardship.
“Preliminary data from desk review, LGA data, virtual analysis and community leaders showed that more than 7,000 households were affected in Bade LGA across 58 communities.
“Depending on the severity and the need of each , SEMA is concurrently responding across Bade and other LGAs affected by the 2022 flooding, within its available resources.
“About 2,000 households have so far received government’s support in Bade,” Goje said.
In his remarks, the Emir of Bade, Alhaji Abubakar Suleiman, thanked the agency for the support.
He, however, appealed to the agency to ensure that more victims benefit from the support.
Stakeholders in the North-East have lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for increased allocation to education and health sectors in the proposed 2023 budget.
The stakeholders including educationists, health experts and social activists said the measure was imperative towards raising standards in the sectors.
They made the made the commendation while responding to a survey on the 2023 budget by the News Agency of Nigeria in Bauchi, Damaturu, Gombe and Yola. NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Oct. 7, presented N20.51 trillion 2023 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly.
In the budget, N1.08 trillion has been allocated to the education sector, representing 5.3 per cent of the budget size.
The breakdown showed that N470 billion has been earmarked for revitalisation and salary enhancement in tertiary institutions and over N50 billion would be expended on implementation of new the Teachers Salary Structure in public schools, among others.
In his contribution, Dr Ali Fannami, Secretary, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Yobe, however, noted that the N1.08 trillion surpassed the N0.92 trillion allocation to education in the 2022 budget, adding that the sector requires additional funding for sustainable development.
He suggested that 15 to 20 per cent of the country’s total budget should be channelled to the education sector in line with international benchmark.
The scribe inferred that if South Africa, with a population of about 62 million people could allocate 20.4 per cent of its budget to education, Nigeria with an estimated population of 200 million people should not be spending 5.3 per cent in the sector.
Fannami also lauded the Buhari administration for the proposed N15.2 billion expenditure on Safe School Initiative (SSI) in the 2023 budget.
According to him, the SSI, which is an inter-governmental commitment to protect schools from armed and non-armed conflicts will boost education, especially in high risk areas.
The scribe, however, said that unless communities assist security operatives with credible information on crimes, the scheme might not achieved its objectives.
He said the SSI would be more successful if teachers, parents and communities are adequately carried along at every stage of its implementation.
Similarly; a Gombe-based public analyst, Mr Clement Stanley has urged the federal government to sustain the increase in the health sector budget to enhance access to quality healthcare services in the country.
He said the 2023 budget increase to health would accelerate infrastructure development, address manpower gaps and other challenges bedeviling the sector.
According to him, for the first time in the history of health funding in the country, the health sector has been allocated N1.17 in the proposed 2023 budget.
He said the figure showed a significant increase above the N547 billion and N826.9 billion allocated to the sector in 2021 and 2022 budgets, respectively.
This, he said, should be sustained to transform health systems towards enhancing healthcare service delivery.
He, therefore, called for proactive measures to ensure strict implementation of the budget in line with its provisions to achieve the set objectives.
Also, Mr Mubarak Muhammad, Social and Behavior Change Communication Officer, Marie Stopes Nigeria, Bauchi State Office, said the allocation to the sector demonstrated federal government’s commitment towards attaining the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
“It is just about six per cent of the proposed total budget size, a little above one third of the Abuja Declaration which requires 15 per cent allocation of the total budget to the health sector.
“The proposed allocation to the health sector in the 2023 budget rose from N826.9 billion equivalent to 4.7 per cent of the total budget in 2022 to N1.17 trillion indicating 5.75 per cent in 2023. “The proposed budget saw an increase of about 94.83 per cent for capital expenditure and 25.54 per cent for recurrent expenditure.
“This means that the public will feel more impact than they felt in 2022, if the proposed budget would be passed and fully implemented,” he said.
According to him, with adequate funding, the country will advance towards Universal Health Coverage for the citizenry.
He noted that the Federal Government’s contributions to state governments under the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) and other programmes encouraged them to enrolled reasonable number of vulverabel people and scaled up activities towards improved healthcare service delivery.
“Indeed with the 2022 allocation to the health sector, the Federal Government has put states on their toes.
We hope that the 2023 would come with better health indices”.
While urging the federal government to ensure effective implementation of the Abuja Declaration, Muhammad called for prompt release of fund to facilitate smooth implementation of the health programmes, especially Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) Moreso, Abu John, Executive Director, African Community and Environmental Health Intiative (ACE-HI), said the gesture indicated government’s commitment to quality healthcare service delivery in the country.
He advised relevant authorities and stakeholders to utilise the allocation to improve personnel welfare towards addressing manpower gaps and brain drain in the sector.
“No fewer than 2,000 doctors left the shores of the country for white collar jobs from 2020 to date.
“The work force requires an emergency intervention to ensure that workers are retain for better healthcare services, and access to live saving drugs and modern equipment should be a priority of the budget.
“It is also important for the federal government to take up responsibility and redirect its focus on primary healthcare services.
“A key essential to basic healthcare is for the government to reduce dependence on partners, rather develop and implement sound policies to strengthen the system,” he said.
However, Dr Shehu Sirajo, a lecturer, Adamawa State University Mubi (ADSU), described the N20.5 trillion proposed 2023 budget as “ambitious”.
He said that budget was an annual government expenditure of projected revenue based on expectations and anticipations.
The don noted that the 2023 budget was ambitious considering the dwindling revenue occasioned by insecurity, tax evation and the quantum of debts.
“Larger chunk of the budget would be used on debt servicing which might affect both macro and micro economic variables in the country,” he said.
For his part, Muhammed Aliyu, a civil servant, expressed optimism that the target for the budget could be achieved if revenue sources are effectively utilise.
He stressed the need for proactive measures to block revenue leakages to facilitate effective implementation of the budget.