Traditional ruler urges FG to increase budget allocation for health, education

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Nnaemeka Achebe

The Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, has urged the Federal Government to increase the budget allocation to health and education .

Achebe made the call on Tuesday in Abuja, at the first Bi-Annual Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Adolescent and Elderly Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) multi-stakeholder partnership coordination platform.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the RMNCAEH+N, which was launched in October 2020, is a multi-stakeholder partnership coordination platform which would harmonise the health interventions of the government and health partners to reduce wastage and channel funds to get the desired result to achieve Universal Health Care Coverage.

The platform brings together a wider cross-sector of partners and traditional leaders to address the gaps in achieving effective overall coordination of RMNCAEH+N issues by harnessing the relative strengths of individual players to leverage resources, reduce duplication and induce speed towards maximized health outcomes.

Represented by the Emir of Shonga, Dr Haliru Yahaya, Achebe said it was wrong that the National Assembly commands a higher budget than education and health sectors.

“The programme must flow down to the states and Local Government Areas for implementation synergy, cooperation and Partnership,” he said.

Implementation of the RMNCAEH+N, he said, is key to success.

“There must be a sense of urgency; the human capital document took four years to develop and the set targets cannot now be achieved within the set time frame due to delays.

“Funding is also very critical for success,” he added.

Contributing, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged the federal government and its partners to remain committed to improving the health and well-being of Nigerians, especially vulnerable populations.

The Sultan, who was represented by the Chairman of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery (NTLC), and Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera pledged the continuous support of Traditional and Religious leaders towards the achievement of UHC in the country.

Earlier, the Minister of State, Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora said that as part of the RMNCAEH+N commitments, the government was working to ensure the availability of family planning commodities and services, by launching the FP2030 commitment.

Mamora, who was represented by the Director of Family Health Department, FMOH, Dr Salma Kolo, said the commitment is aimed at increasing domestic funding and sustainable financing through earmarking of one per cent health budgets, at federal and state levels.

“We are optimistic that Nigeria will attain its vision with a strategy that allows eligible citizens, including adolescents, young people, and vulnerable populations, to make informed choices and get equitable, affordable access to quality FP and participation in national development.

“This is the goal of the FP2030 commitment,” he explained.

Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Country Representative, assured Nigeria of WHO’s continual support meets the target of UHC.

Mulombo, who was represented by Dr Martin Chabi, Medical Officer, Maternal and Child Health UHC, Life Course Chaster, WHO said that the meeting was a great opportunity to improve the health of women, children and adolescents via transformative multi-sectoral action.

According to him, this will also accelerate coverage of interventions, reduce gender and equity gaps, and improve the quality of services.

Speaking, Prof Emmanuel Lufadeju, National Coordinator of Rotary Maternal and Child Health Project in Nigeria, said that the organisation is supporting the ministry on RMNCAEH+N.

Lufadeju said that RMNCAEH+N was a coordinating platform for stakeholders to have coordination and concentration activities and efforts so that there were no repetitions in its activities.

“So far, through the Department of Family Health, ministry of health, coordination has been very effective in terms of data collection, advocacy, technical support, and it is still growing.

”This is to review what has been achieved so far in the last two years, what we have to do differently and how we can move forward.

“Rotary is a major supporter of the FMOH, especially the Department of Family Health, on issues of maternal and child health in Nigeria.

“We expect to increase contraceptive prevalence rate from the present 15 per cent to above 30 per cent in the next five years,” he explained.

He said that the organisation expects of the organisation to drastically reduce maternal mortality in the country.

“Maternal mortality, which is at the moment 512 women dying out of 100,000 live births. We have been doing a lot of work in terms of advocacy, and capacity building in the country in terms of supply of equipment and facilities,” he added.

NAN reports that this is the fourth meeting since the launch of the platform, was structured for a critical performance appraisal, to articulate lessons learnt, identify challenges, and define its focus for the next six months.

The meeting addressed thematic areas that support progress toward reducing mortality indices in the RMNCEAH+N programme.