The Federal Ministry of Health is planning to establish 10,000 functional primary health care (PHC) centres across the country between now and 2018. Head of Health Financing and Equity at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Francis Ukwuije, said the Federal Government would complete the building of functional health centres in each ward across the country in two years’ time.
Making this disclosure in Lagos on the occasion of the World Malaria Day, Ukwuje pointed out that the Ministry of Health is committed to operationalising the National Health Act, signed in 2014.
He opined that the 2016 health budget pegged at 4.13 per cent of the total budget was a far cry from the 15 per cent which African countries, including Nigeria, agreed on in Abuja 15 years ago.
It will be recalled that the Abuja Declaration of 2001 recommends that African states increase health spending to 15 percent of the national budget even as Nigeria is yet to meet the mark 15 years later.
In 2001, 4.5 per cent of Nigeria’s government expenditure was allocated to health. By 2015, this figure has only increased to 6.8 per cent of the total government expenditure and Nigeria’s 2016 Appropriation Bill allocates only 4.3 per cent to health.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), Dr. Ben Anyene, traced the origin of poor healthcare system in Nigeria to the 1999 Constitution, which leaves out the issue of well-being of Nigerians in its provisions.
“There is no single health provision in the 1999 Constitution,” he said.
According to the World Bank World Development indicators, life expectancy in Nigeria is 52.8 years compared with 61 years in Ghana and 64 in Ethiopia.