April 7, 2024

World Health Day: Peter Obi decries poor budgetary allocation to health

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Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi

…calls for aggressive investments

By Chioma Obinna

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Health Day, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has decried the decline in the country’s health sector, calling for more aggressive investments that would improve the lives of Nigerians.

Obi said Nigeria’s poor investment in the health sector has continued to manifest in many ways, with Nigeria ranking 14th out of the 18 countries with poor health systems and also ranking 157th out of 167 countries measured on health systems.

Obi who wrote on his X platform, -@PeterObi said, ” Our budget of N1.3 trillion for the health sector, in a country of about 218 million people, is still not enough to make a serious impact in the sector and still falls below the 15 per cent commitment specified in the 2001 Abuja Declaration.

“With the continual decline in our health sector, we need to make more aggressive investments that will improve the lives of the people.

“Aside from the negative impacts on the citizens of our lack of investment in the health sector, the attendant capital flight arising from health tourism remains worrisome. It is reported that Nigerians Spend Over $1.5bn on Medical Tourism Annually.

“Such a volume of funds, if retained in our economy would have impacted positively on the nation and helped us to save the much-needed foreign exchange.

“This day, therefore, presents us, the leaders, with another opportunity to reflect on our vision and prioritise investment in the very critical areas of human development for the ultimate good and development of the nation.

“The resources wasted on frivolities and unnecessary expenditures should now be invested in health, education and pulling people out of poverty. Our vision in New Nigeria is to build a healthy and productive nation, and it is possible.

“I join the global community in commemorating World Health Day today. Health remains critical to human development. As one of the critical measures of the human development index, health contributes immeasurably to the development of the human person and the progress of the nation.

Our obvious neglect of our health sector, especially the primary health sector, has continued to result in so many unpleasant outcomes for the nation.

“We are today, among the countries with the highest infant mortality rates. The current life expectancy in Nigeria is 56 years, obviously among the lowest in the world. Healthcare in Nigeria is increasingly becoming out of the reach of most Nigerians due to its high cost,” he stated.