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Low Cash-backing budget releases undermining health sector performance – KADMAM

…As Malaria fever cases rise.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Kaduna State Maternal New-born and Child Accountability Mechanism, KADMAM, said on Thursday that, low cash-backing of budget releases is undermining performance of the health sector in the state.

Co-Chair of KADMAM, Mr Mustapha Jumare, stated this in Kaduna, at the opening of Open Kaduna Health Quarterly Interactive Forum, oraganised by KADMAM.

The meeting was organised in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and other Development Partners with the theme, “#Open Kaduna Health in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Jumare acknowledged a reasonable budgetary allocation to the health sector by the state government, in line with the Abuja Declaration of 15 per cent budgetary allocation to the health sector.

He however pointed out that, despite the reasonable budgetary allocations, the health indices in the state had remained “very disturbing.”

The Chairman, Evidence Sub-Committee, KADMAM, Mr Abdulrahaman Mikail, pointed out that the state had in the past three years’ allocated more than 15 per cent of its annual budget to the health sector.

Makail said that the government had allocated 16.01 per cent of its 2018 budget to the health sector; allocated 15.02 per cent in 2019 and 15.36 per cent in 2020.

He urged the government to ensure timely release and cash backing of the 2020 revised budget allocated to the health sector, to effectively respond to COVID-19 public health emergencies.

“We equally urge the government to fast-track ongoing recruitment in the health sector to bridge the manpower gap, as well as the rehabilitation of 255 primary healthcare centres.

“The ministry should also provide updates on COVID-19 income and expenditure as social accountability in line with the principle of Open Government Partnership.

“Budgetary allocation for malaria programming at state and local government levels should also be increased to prevent children, under five years, from preventable deaths,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Christopher Musa, of State Team Lead, SunMap2 Project, which is being managed by Malaria Consortium, pointed out that cases of fever and malaria have continued to rise in the state.

Musa elaborated that 1.12 million cases of fever were recorded in the state between January and June, adding that, a total of 552 per 1,000 outpatient cases of malaria had also been recorded between January and June – more than the 512 recorded in 2019.

“Considering that we are just in mid-2020, this is so far the worst record in the state.

The risk of malaria is consistently over 55 per cent higher in children, and continues to increase, with 99 per cent mortality among children under five years related to malaria,” Musa noted.

Responding, the Commissioner of Health, Dr Amina Baloni, said that the state government was doing all that it can to improve access to quality health services in the state.

According to her, “A huge number of children under five years have been fully immunized. Plans are on track to ensure availability of vaccines.” She noted that, “Children under five years are not receiving long-lasting insecticide nets due to ‘stock out.’ Malaria treatment and prevention is a priority area of the government.”

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