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Rural areas often face a lack of essential healthcare services.

World Health Day: Expert Calls for Proper Monitoring of Health Projects Nationwide

The Federal Government has been urged to ensure concerted efforts are put in place for proper monitoring of released funds for health projects.

The appeal was made by a General Physician, Dr Tunji Akintade, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Lagos ahead of the World Health Day celebration, which is to be commemorated on Sunday.

World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7, marks the anniversary of the constitution of the World Health Organisation and its quest to improve populations’ access to essential health services.

This year’s theme ‘My health, my right’ stands to reaffirm WHO’s stance that health is a right for all, not a privilege.

The theme also seeks to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water.

Others are access to clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination.

Akintade, who is a former Chairman, Association of Nigerian Private Medical Practitioners, said the FG should ensure that 75 per cent of released funds was spent on improving access to quality healthcare services rather than infrastructure.

He added, “That’s the reason why the health sector is not growing rapidly and the impact of quality healthcare services is not felt by the majority of citizens.”

He insisted that health sector projects should be private-sector driven to achieve better outcomes and ensure that healthcare resources are effectively utilised.

Akintade said, “For instance, the federal government has approved N25 billion for facility financing and workforce incentives for states, aside from that other funds had also been released under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“The question is, what was done with all these funds previously released for PHCs development?

“If we don’t have effective monitoring in our system, we will keep repeating payments for a particular project.

“It is concerning that the huge amount of funds released by the federal government has not translated to access to quality healthcare services for citizens and tangible health development across states.”

He further said health insurance should be strengthened to reduce financial hardship faced by citizens due to out-of-pocket health spending.

Akintade urged the three levels of government to ensure that health budgetary allocation and release align with the 15 per cent Abuja Declaration.

The physician lamented that the presence of local government authorities was not felt at the grassroots level, stressing that health, education and environmental sanitation should be strengthened to improve the lives of citizens.

He appealed to state governments to expedite actions and improve access to clean and safe water to mitigate the health risks associated with the consumption of unsafe water, especially as rain and flooding are bringing waterborne diseases to communities.

Akintade maintained that governments should increase investment in health education, saying it plays a critical role in improving community well-being through promoting knowledge and healthy practices across all age groups.

He further called for a holistic approach to be adopted by the government to ensure it fulfils its commitment to scale-up efforts to build and strengthen quality, people-centred, sustainable, and resilient health systems.