A health sector policy think-tank, known as the Silver Lining for the Needy Initiative, has called on the Federal Government to increase its budgetary allocation to the health sector in Nigeria.
The SNLI urged President Muhammadu Buhari to bring on board his cabinet, a Minister of Health “who is knowledgeable and understands the issues”, so as to implement policies that would develop the health sector.
The organisation said that increment in budgetary allocation would engender an improved health care delivery service in primary health care centres nationwide.
The Punch reported that the SLNI basically takes care of the health needs of women and children, especially in the grassroots.
The Founder/President of the group, Hauwa Abbas, made the call in an interview with our correspondent on the sidelines of a briefing held in Abuja to commemorate its 10th anniversary.
As part of activities to mark its anniversary, the group will unveil an academy to train youths between the ages of 18 and 35 on building their capacity, irrespective of their educational qualification.
While stressing the need to revamp the primary health care centres , she called on the Federal Government to equip them with facilities and resource persons to enable them to handle the health care needs of citizens.
Abbas recalled that in 2001 the government pledged to commit 15 per cent of its budget to health care delivery.
The promise, she noted, had remained unfulfilled, even as Nigeria struggled to achieve 7.5 per cent amid health care needs in the country.
She said, “If Nigeria can commit to the 2001 declaration of 15 per cent of the annual budget for health care, it will do a whole lot in the sector, particularly at the primary health care level, because millions of Nigerians live in the rural areas.
“There is a need to increase the budgetary allocation to the health sector and the money should go into primary health care because a large chunk of the Nigerian population lives in rural communities.
“We need to ensure that primary health care centres in these communities are equipped to serve the people better. Also, there is a need to have trained health care workers at the centres.
“We need people who can bring out solutions by digging out existing policies. If you look through the existing policies, you will find lots of good policies that will transform Nigeria into a better country, if implemented.”