The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has linked the deteriorating state of health care services across the country to poor funding and institutional lapses. This came following a resolution by lawmakers demanding an explanation about the decadence in the sector despite National Assembly’s budgetary allocations.
Prior to its resolution, legislators had blamed the absence of necessary medical equipment and personnel for contributing to Nigeria’s high mortality rate. Lawmakers had also highlighted corruption and administrative lapses as responsible for the decaying infrastructure and long waiting period subsisting in Nigerian Teaching Hospitals.
The Minister further speaking on the issues however highlighted some improved health outcomes. For instance, he reported a reduced prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS from 3% in 2015 to 1.4% in 2019 and a drop in the occurrence rate of Malaria from 42% in 2016 to 27% in 2018. Children receiving immunization from preventable diseases were also reported at a higher percentage of 57% in 2018, which is an improvement from 2015 when only 48% of children were given immunization.
It would be recalled that the National Assembly had sought to improve performance in the health sector by allocating N55, 155,000,000 billion for the implementation of the National Health Act, which is the country’s principal legislation for regulating, developing and managing health services. This practice, which was the first since the passage of the Act in 2014 continued in the 2019 budget with the allocation of 1 percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the health sector.
Although Nigeria is signatory to the Abuja Declaration on Health which commits to 15% of a national budget to health, the sector remains in dire need of funding with total allocation to the sector generally pegged at between 2 percent to 3 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic product.
Nigeria continues to rank low in its global human development and indices with a 2016 World Health Organisation (WHO) report placing the country as the second highest country with a maternal mortality rate of 814 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is against the Sustainable Development Goal target of less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births.