Eighty-nine Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have urged the Federal Government to devote 15 percent of the nation’s total budget to fund health, saying Nigeria’s 52 years average life expectancy which is lower than 61 of Ghana and South Africa’s 57 years among others is unacceptable. This is contained in the Health Sector Medium Term Sector Strategies (MTSS) 2018-2020, a Memorandum from CSOs working in the health sector and formally presented on Monday in Abuja. The report presented on behalf of others by the Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Barrister Eze Onyekpere, said the prevalence of infectious diseases remains high largely due to inadequate funding and which make Nigeria ranks poorly on incidence of tuberculosis (128 of 138 countries) and prevalence of HIV (123 of 138 countries), apart from the under-five child mortality standing at 89 deaths per 1000 live births, a level far above the target of 64 deaths per 100 live births set in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said that the MTSS/MTEF 2018-2020 is an opportunity to reverse the nation’s dwindling health provision as it is expected to actualize the goals and objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, National Health Policy 2016 (NHP), National Health Act (NHA) 2014, and National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP), among others. “The government should allocate 15 percent of the total annual national budget to the health sector in compliance with the Abuja Declaration of 2001. Where not possible, start with a minimum of 7.5 percent (being 50 percent of the Abuja Declaration) allocation in 2018 and progressively increase by 1.5 percent until the 15 percent is attained by 2023,” he said. While calling for the full implementation of the national health act, he said that the definition of the meaning of the minimum package of health services should be articulated. He said that while it is possible that those that treated President Muhammadu Buhari in London are Nigerians, he said that the fact that the President stay for 103 days shows the status of the nation’s healthcare.

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