Lagos - Dr Dayo Faduyile, Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Lagos State chapter, says the N279.23 billion allocated to the health sector in the 2013 budget proposal is short of stakeholders’ expectations.
Faduyile told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that the budgetary provision would not meet the needs of the sector.
"The proposed budget allocation to the health sector is disheartening. It obviously shows that the Federal Government does not put premium on the health of the nation.
"The Federal Government has forgotten that the wealth of a nation is in its health; a healthy nation is a wealthy one.”
Faduyile said that the emergency measures rolled out by the Federal Government in the budgetary provision did not include health.
The NMA chairman described the allocation as meagre, stressing that it was not sufficient to meet the pressing needs in the nation’s tertiary health institutions.
"This allocation, not only falls short of the 2012 budgetary provision, it does not meet the 15 per cent target of annual budget agreed upon by the African Union countries to improve the health sector.
"The tertiary and teaching hospitals are dilapidated and crumbling.
"How does the president expect to drive infrastructure development in the health sector, as promised, with the meagre allocation?
"How is the allocation expected to meet the demands made by health workers?
"It is important to know that when health workers are treated fairly, they will be happy. A satisfied worker will be happy to treat patients well," he said.
Faduyile then urged the Federal Government to provide state of the art primary healthcare facilities in all the local governments areas of the country.
According to him, Nigeria is always good with white elephant projects that will later result in a waste of resources.
"The government should rather provide primary healthcare centres that will be easily accessible to the poor in the society, instead of embarking on the mega hospital projects," he said.
Faduyile called on the stakeholders to prevail on the National Assembly to ensure a speedy passage and effective implementation of the budget.
He said that the lawmakers should initiate a bill compelling all political office holders to make use of the nation's health facilities, rather than travelling abroad, even for mild ailments.
NAN reports that President Goodluck Jonathan had on Oct. 11 presented a budget proposal of N4.9 trillion for fiscal year 2013 to the National Assembly.
In the budget, the health sector got N279.23 billion as allocation, lower than the budgetary provision of N282.77 billion earmarked for the sector in 2012-- a difference of N3.54 billion.
It was less than five per cent of the total budgetary provision.