fbpx

Onigbinde seeks improved health funding, epidemic preparedness – Punch Newspapers


Dayo Ojerinde

The co-founder of BudgIT, a civic group committed to government financial transparency, Mr Seun Onigbinde, has advocated for improved funding of the Nigerian health sector.

Onigbinde, at a webinar organised by the Nigeria Healthwatch on Monday, said there was the need for the federal and state governments to set aside fund to fight disease outbreaks in the country.

He said, “I am happy that COVID-19 has brought to the front burner the issues in the health sector. We now realised that without health we have nothing. At our firm, there was a time we were very rigid about working from office, staff can’t work from home and all that, because we believe there is always a level of discipline when people work together within the office space, now COVID-19 has shattered that. Now that the lockdown has been lifted, our entire team are still working from home pending when we are able to study the trend.

“It is unfortunate that we have constantly underfunded health care at the federal and state levels. My concern was how many cases can we manage as this pandemic continue to escalate? When you look at the developed countries like the United States of America, they have come to a breakpoint. We have less than 400 ICU bed spaces in the entire country, we don’t produce health equipment neither do we produce health infrastructure in great quantities. I am worried a lot about our preparedness, it is really shallow. For example, an average state in Nigeria spends less than 10 per cent of its budget on health. There are states that spends less than four per cent of their budget on health. Even the Federal Government doesn’t spend more than five per cent on its entire budget on health.

“When you look at countries like the UK, Germany, USA and Spain, you find out that their average spending on health care is between 20 and 25 per cent of their entire annual budget. We don’t have a robust public health care system, health insurance system and our health infrastructure is also weak. We might pat ourselves in the back about our efforts so far, but we just have to be thankful that we have not gotten the violent strains of COVID-19 and that the cases have not multiplied beyond measures. Just imagine a thousand cases of COVID-19 in some states like Bauchi, Gombe, Oyo or Edo, it can be very problematic. It all point to the fact that we have underfunded health over the years, this was corroborated by the SGF when he recently said that she did not know that the entire health care system in the country was this bad.”

Corroborating Onigbinde, the Founder of Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, Dr Ola Brown, urged states to pull resources together to prepare for epidemics.

“It is really hard to talk about Nigeria in the global context, because our poverty rate makes everything so much difficult. Of course, we can’t just do like the rich countries, we really have to be a bit innovative around spending for health care. So, how can states do more with less?

“We have seen countries all over the world that have done more with less resources, which means that it is not completely a money game. Countries like South Korea, Taiwan is poorer than America but they’ve handled COVID-19 better than some developed countries,” Brown said.

DOWNLOAD THE PUNCH NEWS APP NOW ON






Source link

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: