ActionAid laments poor funding in health sector

ActionAid Nigeria has lamented poor funding across the three tiers of government in Nigeria. 

The Country Director ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, stated this Thursday, during a validation workshop of policy scoping research on: Gender responsive public services in Nigeria organized by actionaid Nigeria in Abuja.

She decried Nigeria’s high maternal mortality rate which she attributed to poor funding, lack of accountability and corruption.

She said: “When you have low funding for health services you are not only making women poorer but you are killing women. We have maternal mortality that is like no other. Nigeria is in the last five. We are not at war.

“But the answer is not far fetch. It is not only in the allocation but in accountability of the funds allocated. We have government agencies in Nigeria who have not been giving financial reports since they were created and they are still getting allocations every year. So even if you are in the health sector systems and you don’t account, they still give you money. Nobody is demanding accountability.

“We are demanding for them to get more, they get it but they are spending it into their pockets. No matter what we do if we do not address the issue of corruption we have done nothing.

“We are talking about 100 million people living below poverty line. Among those 100 million people over 50 percent of them are women. This is why the issue of gender responsive in public services is imperative,” she said.

Similarly in his presentation, ActionAid research consultant Onoriode Ozire, who decried the declining budgetary allocation to the health sector in Nigeria since 2014, lamented lack of access to health services, social justice to women, especially those in rural areas.

“Evidence appears to show linkages between access to health and justice to decent work. In Nigeria, women who work in the informal sector have limited access to health and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) with specific reference to social protection, abortion rights and psychological support services.

“While there may be services at the urban areas, poor and hard to reach communities seldom have access to most public services. Where they exist, they are either nonfunctional, costly, in accessible and inadequate to meet the needs of women and girls,” he said 

He identified some of the barriers to access to quality health care among women to include getting permission from their husbands, finances, distance to health facilities among others.    

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