The public hearing on 2021 Appropriation Bill held at Kano State House of Assembly, Thursday, has focus on the need to include vital projects on health, Education and Agricultural sectors as well as the for construction of roads, additional teachers and health workers for better future of the state.
In his opening remarks, the Speaker Rt. Hon. Abdul’azeez Garba Gafasa (Walin Gaya) said the aimed of the occasion is to give public opportunity to presents their request for the estimate.
The Speaker, assured to use some of the demands for the development of the state.
Kano State Health Sector Working Group (KHSWG) is one of many Civil Society Coalitions that made presentation at the public hearing.
The Executive Director, Voice and Accountability Platform (VAP) and Chief Content Officer at Stallion Times, Isiyaku Ahmed made a submission on behalf of KHSWG.
In his presentation, he said: “Covid-19 pandemic met an already overstretched and weak health care system that struggles to cope with the health challenges posed by the virus.”
“This is largely attributed to the age long neglect of our health financing which make accessibility and affordability of health care services by the masses a mirage,” he added.
Ahmed also said medical tourism as well as brain drain of our best medical personnel to the oversea countries made sure that our health care system remains moribund. On the economic front, the pandemic also increase poverty in the land, thereby depriving the poorer households’ access to adequate diet which further worsened our indices on severe acute malnutrition most especially among the under-5 in the country.
These challenges, he said came to meet a health system whose funding is skewed against primary health care system which makes it more difficult for ordinary Nigerians to access health care when they are confronted with common illnesses such as malaria, typhoid, and diarrhea.
For example, studies showed that over 80% of the health needs of Nigerians can be handled at the primary health care centers but analysis of funding stream over the years showed a reversal in funds allocation where less than 20% of the funding goes to primary health care system.
“This explains the chaotic situation of our secondary and tertiary health center where people move directly to seek for care because of non-functioning primary health care system that is meant to address majority of these health needs,” he said.
He explained that the poor nutritional status of most Nigerians is a bane to our health system as weak immune system due to inadequate nutrient intake makes children more vulnerable as well as prolongs their recovery period from common illnesses. This further underscores the importance of investing in both nutrition prevention and treatment.
While malnutrition constitutes a serious setback to socio-economic development of a nation, sustainable growth in Nigeria cannot be achieved without prioritized attention to scale-up and sustain investment for nutrition.
Malnutrition by implications increases susceptibility to infection, slow recovery from illnesses, low quality breast milk; retard physical and cognitive development.
An estimated 2.5 million Nigerian children under-5 years of age suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) annually, exposing nearly 420,000 children under-5 years of age to early death from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria (NDHIS 2018).
Ahmed therefore submitted that the N300,000,000 allocated for the IMPLEMENTATION OF UNICEF ASSISTED PROGRAMME (NUTRITION) in the 2021 appropriation bill should be reviewed upward due to increase in Severe Acute Malnutrition cases in the state as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.
“The state Assembly should increase its oversight function on MDAs to include quick releases of nutrition allocated fund and enact a law for the establishment of nutrition commission in the state.
“The Assembly should review upward fully paid maternity leave from 3 to 6 months to enhance exclusive breastfeeding practices (maternity protection, ILO 2014), he added.
More than 15 other Civil Societies Organizations and coalitions including Kano State Led Accountability Mechanism (KanSlam) made separate presentations.
The majority leader of the house, Hon. Kabiru Hassan Dashi who chaired the occasion expressed appreciation on the wonderful presentations made by civil societies organizations which described it as important.
The Chairman Standing Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abba Ibrahim Garko thanked House members and participants at the public hearing on 2021 Appropriation Bill for their maximum support and cooperation.