Following the courtesy visit to the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health Services, Hon. Chike John Okafor, 34 WAVA civil society organizations, together with other stakeholders from the Health Sector Reform Coalition (HSRC) and the National Immunization Financing Task Team (NIFT), attended the Public Hearing on Financing Healthcare and Revitalising Primary Health Care in Nigeria organized by the House Committee on Health Services between November 22 and 23, 2016 at the National Assembly, Abuja.
Presenting a unified call for state governments to include a sufficient budget line for routine immunization, WAVA Convener, Dr Chizoba Wonodi read out a memorandum to the House of Representatives on specific actions to strengthen the health system in the country. She highlighted that members of WAVA work in rural areas where the negative consequences of weak primary healthcare systems and the absence or poor quality of healthcare result in avoidable deaths or disabilities. This she stated was as a result of inadequate funding and inefficient utilization of available funds.
Thus, Dr Wonodi explained the need for advocacy at national and state levels to provide sustainable immunization and health financing in order to ensure equitable vaccines access and quality healthcare for all Nigerians, a task which WAVA is leading the cause for.
Below are the recommendations from the memo:
- To achieve better results and value for money, we want the National Assembly to strengthen its oversight functions and ensure efficiency in spending approved budgets for health in a bid to improve national health outcomes.
- To ensure transparency, we want the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government to make information on budget release and implementation easily accessible to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in a timely manner.
- To improve immunization financing at the state level, we want Honourable Members of the House of Representatives to work with the House of Assembly members in their states to ensure inclusion of a sufficient budget line for immunization to cover operational costs required for vaccine delivery, outreaches, supportive supervision, cold chain maintenance etc.
- To ensure a stronger health system, we want the Federal, State and Local Government authorities to increase allocation to the health sector to reach the 15 percent in accordance with the Abuja Declaration benchmark of African Head of States in 2001. As concrete steps towards attaining the 15%, governments at all levels should commit to raising the health allocation to 7.5% in the 2017 budget, then by 1.5% increment every year till 15% is achieved.
Other notable figures present at the public hearing include the Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole; wife of Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki; Niger State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mustapha Jibril and representatives from UNICEF and WHO.