2022 budget: prioritize primary health, group urges Ebonyi Assembly

A Non- Governmental Organization, Development Integrity Intervention Goals Foundation (DIG), has called on Ebonyi state House of Assembly to prioritize Primary Healthcare in the 2022 budget appropriation.

The NGO made the call during a quarterly legislative high level advocacy on health sector financing and budget performance, organized by the Development Integrity Intervention Goals Foundation (DIG) with support from Integrated Health Program, IHP-USAID.

The group lamented inadequate and untimely release of capital budget for the State Primary Health Care Development Agency, and the inadequate human resource for Primary Health Care(PHC).

According to the group, untimely/non-release of counterpart fund for PHC related programmes, lack of core infrastructure (fencing, electricity, repair of roads, conveniences, WASH facilities), poor community participation in Primary Health Care activities and incomplete transfer of Health staff to agency/payment of salary of health staff by the Agency/conversion of trained staff, have become a clear challenge affecting the PHCs in the 171 wards of the state.

The group charged the House members to ensure increased budgetary allocation to Primary Health Care up to 15% as required by Abuja declaration and to also Influence the Executive to reserve at least minimum of 30% slot to Primary Health Care in the ongoing Ebonyi civil service recruitment exercise.

They furthered urged the lawmakers to Strengthen legislative oversight function to ensure timely release and full implementation of the 2022 budget allocation to Primary Health Care and Partnership with CSOs to deepen Citizen Participation and Engagement in budget process and other public policy issues.

Representative of IHP-USAID, Chinyere Ikwuakor, while giving overview of the state of Primary Health care Centers in the state, noted that less than 5 percent of Ebonyi citizens utilizes the primary health care services.

She appealed to the lawmakers to partner with DIG in educating the women on the importance of accessing health care services including their Children as it has become a case of concern that the state was witnessing high rate of maternal and infant deaths with high rate of malnutrition in the rural areas.

Ikwuakor decried the infrastructural state of some health centers in the state and urged the lawmakers to intervene on the issues that bother the people they represent, adding that 70percent of their constituents lives in the village.

In his remarks, the Speaker Ebonyi state House of Assembly Rt. Hon Francis Nwifuru, commended the group for their contributions to ensure that Maternal and Morbidity in the state are reduce.

Nwifuru represented by the leader of the house, Hon. Victor Chukwu, assured the CSOs that all the necessary things needed to improve the health sectors would be actualized in the 2022 budget.

Earlier, DIG Executive Director, Mr. Oliver Chima Aja, noted that the major objectives of the meeting was to introduce the Advocacy and Accountability Project of DIG as USAID IHP sub-grantee to participants.

Also, to discuss issues concerning health financing and citizens engagement and to advocate for state House of Assembly members to prioritize PHC budget including issues of human resources.

He urged the lawmakers to effectively strengthen and make the PHCs accessible to increase quality service delivery.

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