Thursday, June 11, 2020

Nigeria's Healthcare Cut

In Nigeria the government is to cut healthcare spending despite the risk undermining the country’s coronavirus response and severely impacting already strained services, health and transparency groups have warned. Funding for local, primary healthcare services will be cut by more than 40% this year.
The proposed cuts could affect immunisations, childcare, maternal healthcare and family planning services. Nigeria currently spends less than 5% of its federal budget on health. 

According to Prof Innocent Ujah, the head of the Nigerian medical association, 
“Our budget for health is unacceptably low, under 5%. With the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes even more serious,” he said. “It will have an impact on our response to the virus.” Ujah said he was shocked at the announcement of the cuts, as it had been assumed health budgets would be ringfenced during the pandemic.

37bn naira (£75m) set aside for renovations to Nigeria’s National Assembly buildings. 
“Whatever renovations they want to do in the National Assembly should be suspended,” Ujah said. “This is a global emergency.”
Oluseun Onigbinde, the director of BudgIT, an organisation which tracks government spending, said, “It’s a bit shameful that Nigeria’s allocation for health and education has not gone above 5% of the total budget provision in the last five years. The government has really underinvested in healthcare.”

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