From AMEDU JOSEPH, Lokoja
A medical practitioner with the Federal Medical Center, Lokoja, Dr. Jones Taiwo has lamented the consistent drop in budgetary allocation to the health sector at all levels of government in Nigeria.
The medical doctor insisted that government should have a rethink on the abysmal drop to boost effective health delivery services in the country.
Dr. Taiwo who is the Head of Department, Health and Clinical Services, Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, raised the alarm after receiving an Award of Excellence for his selfless services, presented to him by Kogi Youth Alliance.
Dr Taiwo said the need for constant advocacy for government at all levels to improve on allocation to the health sector has become necessary in order to enhance the value placed on the health needs of her citizens.
According to Dr. Taiwo, “ The WHO stipulates a minimum of 15% budgetary allocation to the health sector and regretted that the reverse is the case in Nigeria where budgetary allocation to health on yearly basis fall below 5% and on a downward decline.
He disclosed that while the Federal Government allocation to the health sector was 4.27% in 2019, it fell short to 4.12% in the 2020 budget, describing it as the lowest in West Africa.
The medical practitioner noted that for a country with large population as Nigeria, what the 2020 budget translate to is that, per every individual, an average Nigeria gets less than N1000 from the government to take care of his health yearly while the least country budgets in other West African Countries falls between 10% and 12%.
Dr Taiwo described the challenge in the health sector to include infrastructure and manpower, saying that even where the available manpower are ready and willing to make sacrifices, they are faced with the dearth of infrastructure, pointing out that this is unacceptable if the peoples health needs must top in priority.
“ For example. The present FMC is located where the old Lokoja General Hospital was before. At that time it was meant to cater for only Lokoja local government. Today, the same structure is meant to cater for the state, having a population of four million people “, explaining that with such facility, it is obvious that space would be a challenge, however assured that as Nigerians and medical practitioners, they would strive to do their best for humanity to be served.
As part of measures to save lives during emergency situations, Dr. Taiwo disclosed that the management of FMC has made it mandatory for emergency cases to get care and attention for the first seventy two hours even without their relatives, and availability of funds, this he said is to ensure that patients on emergency don’t die.