Technical working group commends Niger for allocating budget line for family planning

The Technical Working Group (TWG) on Child Spacing and the Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health commended the Niger State government for the recent allocation of a budget line for Family Planning (FP), saying that, “it marks new hope for improved health care provision for women of reproductive health.”

The TWG in a meeting held at the weekend at Gidan Matasa, Okada road, in Minna with the support of the Development Research and Project Centre (DRPC), under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health At Scale (PACFaH@Scale) project, said that such feat will rid FP unit of the challenges of having her budget lumped with other programmes.

This was contained in a statement issued by the group and signed by the Project Director of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health, (CCRHS) Dr Aliyu Yabagi, the Niger State Child Spacing Advocacy Working Group met and deliberated on issues related to child spacing services in the state, celebrate successes, strengthen achievements and strategies to mobilize resources and to generate political will of government toward addressing challenges associated with family planning and adolescent reproductive health in the State.

According to Dr Yabagi, “allocation of Budget line marks new hope for improved health care provision for women of reproductive health in Niger State amidst shortages in releases to Family Planning unit from a domestic source.

“We commend the State Government on the giant stride of allocating a budget line to Family Planning. This feat is envisaged to rid the FP unit of the challenges of having her budget lumped with other programmes as well as other challenges around adequacy and promptness of allocation and release from a domestic source.

“It will further enhance and fast track the processes of funding allocation and releases to the FP sector. Although, the percentage allocation to the health sector from the state budget in the budget of 2021 has fallen compared to the allocation to the sector in previous years of 2018, 2019 and 2020; the current allocation of 6.5% to the health sector has also seriously fallen short of the Abuja commitment of 15% to health sector amidst covid-19 pandemic”, the statement added

He, however, expressed concern over the lack of releases to FP from the domestic source over the years, adding that “funding shortages will lead to Niger State citizens likely to be responsible for their health care needs and this is envisaged to have a catastrophic consequence for women of reproductive health.

This, he said, “will in-turn hamper the indices of the state; hence the blueprints commitment of increasing the State CPR from 6% to 25% will not be achieved. And this could result to more women dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.”

Dr Yabagi further called for adequate and prompt allocation and releases to the health sector to enhance the achievement of Niger state 2017 FP blueprints commitment of increasing the State CPR from 6.6% to 25%; saying “to avoid catastrophic consequences to Nigerlites and women of reproductive age as a result of poor releases to FP, there is need for improved and adequate releases to the health sector.”

The group further highlighted that the funding shortages amidst the earlier analysis of Niger State government spending the sum of N1,766 on every citizen per year and N5 per day (PAS Fact Sheet on Niger State 2021 Budget) will amount to Niger lights to be responsible for their health needs.

Dr Yabagi further called on the state government, the state Assembly and all relevant stakeholders to do the needful by reviewing the health sector allocation (SMoH & SPHCDA) in the 2021 budget and improving on releases to Family Planning to improve the public expenditure on the health sector and hence the wellbeing of Nigerlites.

“There is the urgent need to review upward, the percentage allocation to Health Sector Budget in the 2021 budget;
and Government to strengthen its commitment of allotting of a budget line for Child Spacing from the current budget of 2021 and beyond,” he added.

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