The Kaduna State Champions of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH-N) has said 82 children died before the age of 5 from preventable diseases.
This was even as it called for the full release of a 15% budget allocation to health and address cuts, especially in the capital health expenditures.
The call was made at a press conference on Thursday in Kaduna, by the Leader of the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH-N) and President National Council for Women Society (NCWS) Kaduna North, Hajiya Amina Lawal Orianwo , in collaboration with Legislative Advocacy Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL).
She appealed to the state government to ensure the full release of the 2022 health budget and the timely and adequate release of subsequent ones and maintain dedicated budget lines and provide adequate funding for Routine Immunization, Family Planning and other RMNCAH-N activities as well as primary health care programs.
She said the State RMNCAH-N Champions in collaboration with LISDEL and other partners in the State, request commitments and interventions to address the issues which are centered on the sustainability of the 15% allocation to health as achieved in previous years and to address cuts, especially in the capital health expenditures.
“In Kaduna State, the 2018 NDHS recorded that the State’s Under-5 Mortality ratio is at 82 for every 1000 live births, meaning that 82 children die in the State from preventable diseases before the age of 5”, she stated.
The leader of the champions also advocated for improved implementation of community-based maternal, prenatal, and death surveillance and reporting as it is key to reducing the maternal and child mortality indices. Strengthen institutional arrangements for policy implementation in the State’s Health sector.
While thanking LISDEL for supporting the Kaduna State RMNCAH Champions and for facilitating the discussions; she also appreciated the efforts of the media in sensitizing the public on various socio-economic issues as they relate to the development of Kaduna State and assured of sustainable work with the media in this regard.
According to her, most governments at the national and subnational levels have consistently fallen short of the Abuja Declaration of the African Union that recommended a 15% allocation of government budgets to the health sector.
She commended the Kaduna State government for prioritizing health and for the numerous strides it has taken, and progress made so far in addressing many fundamental issues geared towards the growth and resilience of the health sector.
She decried significant manpower shortages with only 43% of women having births attended by a skilled health worker. Demand for services is generally low with over 60% of births occurring at home and only 58% having attended antenatal care (ANC).
“Despite interventions that have been deployed to curb maternal and child mortality rates in the country, the indices remain remarkably high.
“Several gaps and challenges exist that will continue to affect the health and well-being of women and children in the state, unless critical among which is releases and cash backings for budgeted health funds”, she said.
Noting also that, “Kaduna State is one of the leading States in Nigeria with the highest allocation to the health sector, this has not translated to the much anticipated and required progress, as most of these funds are not available for spending.
“For instance, the State has consistently allocated up to 15% of its annual budgets to the health sector, however only about 50-60% of such allocations are released and cash-backed for spending.
” Furthermore, while the State met the 15% Commitment to health as stipulated by the Abuja Declaration, budgetary allocation to health in the 2023 budget decreased by about 1.4%, with the Capital Expenditure getting as much cut as 10% compared to 2022 health budget.
“This low level of public investment in the sector has contributed to the huge out-of-pocket payment for health by citizens in the country which currently stands at about 77% of total expenditure on health, increased disease burden, inadequate access to and delivery of healthcare services and more”, she observed.
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