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CSOs Demand Transparency, Accountability in Health Budget

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CSOs Demand Transparency, Accountability in Health Budget

By: Michael Mike

Civil society organisations have demanded transparency and accountability in the implementation of the nation’s health budget.

The organisation drawn from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), cluster members across the seven focal states of the project, key government agencies and the media, noted that the dwindling resources of government is a reason why stakeholders must demand for transparency and accountability in the implementation of the health budget.

The Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice, Barr Eze Onyekpere who welcomed everyone to the summit held in Abuja on Tuesday, noted that while the advocacy for more money to health will be continued, stakeholders must also demand that more healthcare be delivered from the available resources.

He also noted that strategies must de deployed to increase the absorptive capacities of the health MDAs and put an end to the incidence of high unspent funds despite declining health indicators.

The Right To Health Cluster of civil society organizations anchored by the Centre for Social Justice held a civil society summit on the implementation of the 2024 health budget, drawing participants from the Centre for Social Justice, cluster members across the seven focal states of the project, key government agencies and the media.

The National Health Insurance Authority represented by Joy Egharevba and Ukoh Eberechi presented a paper on the “Mandatory Health Insurance Under the NHIA ACT: What Next? The paper highlighted the major highlights of the NHIA Act 2022 to include clearly defined roles and relations between stakeholders; provision for mandatory health insurance; provision for the Vulnerable Group Fund; modifications to the composition of the Governing Council; and recognition of the State Social Health Insurance Agencies.

The Federal Ministry of Health represented by Idris Galadima also made a presentation on the implementation of the 2024 federal health budget.

At the end of the summit, following recommendations were made: “The immediate funding and take-off of the Vulnerable Group Fund should be done. A huge percentage of Nigerians are poor and vulnerable and cannot be left out of health insurance coverage. The NHIA should liase with other MDAs of the federal government to achieve this.

“A definite and clear roadmap for actualizing the compulsory health insurance should be developed and implemented. The compulsory nature of health insurance should not only be in the books, but should also be put into practice.

“Increased advocacy and awareness creation on health insurance should be done.

“The NHIA should strengthen monitoring and evaluation activities as it concerns health insurance service delivery to enrollees/beneficiaries at the health facilities.

“The Nigerian Governors’ Forum, traditional and religious leaders should be further engaged to promote & support sensitization programmes and activities on health insurance at the sub-national Level.

“The Federal Ministry of Health should deploy adequate steps to ensure that it fully utilizes the funds released to it for the delivery of healthcare services in Nigeria. The practice of returning huge unspent funds does not speak well of the ministry, hence this practice must not repeat itself in the utilization of the 2024 health budget. Procurement and other policy reforms that would fast track procurement processes should be done. This will increase the absorptive capacity for funds utilization and enhance efficiency and service delivery.

“The allocation of only 4.64% of the total budget size to the federal ministry of health falls short of the 15% target of the Abuja Declaration. Civil society organizations should support the federal ministry of health to advocate for an increase in the share of the budget dedicate to healthcare.

“The ministry of health and all her departments and agencies should increase the level of transparency and accountability through enhanced oversight supervision of her projects.

“The Ministerial Oversight Committee of the BHCPF should devise technological methods (electronic fund tracking mechanisms) to enhance transparency and accountability of the disbursed funds.

“Well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations should be encouraged to contribute to the BHCPF to achieve its objectives and goals.”

CSOs Demand Transparency, Accountability in Health Budget

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MOP is another stride in the UMTH (1).

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MOP is another stride in the UMTH (1).

By: Lazarus Balami

The beauty of effective leadership is the continuing development and evolution of leadership ideas. So, these were noticeable around the stride being brought to play by the Ahidjo-led management team at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, UMTH. The latest of which is the Medical Oxygen Plant (MOP), adding to the narratives and initiatives of the CMD and his management team.

When NEWSng heard of the Medical Oxygen Plant project initiated by CMD Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo to improve healthcare delivery services in line with international standards of health and hospital management to provide more room for more medical research and teaching in the hospital, in its character for reporting achievements, our team flew in to see things as they were on the ground. And on good authority, we can say that this singular project has distinguished UMTH from other teaching hospitals in the country.

With what we have reported so far and the many ideas coming and dreams becoming reality, we can only say that it is time other hospitals began to take cues as soon as possible from UMTH. Standing in front of a giant liquid gas reserve tank with a capacity of 10,000 liters, we asked, Where do you find this? With the number of specialized medical centers of different types as a common sight In UMTH, in aiding healthcare services, therefore, the need for medical oxygen cannot be overemphasized in this tertiary hospital. 

In our reportage on UMTH, NEWSng has not heard of the Medical Oxygen Plant (MOP) in any hospital across the country. Perhaps most common to most people are the cooking gas plants where you refill your cylinders for domestic use. But an edible oxygen plant is entirely a different thing, far from the common cooking gas plants that we see at every corner of the streets around us.

Hospital medical oxygen plants are primarily built to cater to and provide for oxygen, a basic need in all hospitals and other medical facilities for the treatment of patients in critical conditions. Intentive Care Units (ICU), Child Care Centers, and Baby Incubators are the major consumers of medical oxygen gas. whether or not oxygen simply means gas. In this regard, we are concerned with filterized, refined, and cylinderized oxygen as medical gas oxygen.

At the plant site, our team could see a large liquid oxygen tank (LOT) reservoir. Speaking to our team, Engr. Babangida Mohammed Inuwa, the Head of Oxygen Production, informed us that this section of the Medical Oxygen Plant and its machine, tagged as Plant ‘C’, was constructed and provided by the Federal Ministry of Health in partnership with the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Abuja, while Air Separation (Nig) Limited Lagos provided the technical know-how of separation from raw liquid gas to medical oxygen gas. 

READ ALSO:https://newsng.ng/umth-how-professor-ahidjos-transformation-agenda-impacted-the-information-unit/

“What we had before now was an oxygen refill unit. But today we have a medical oxygen plant of high capacity, standard, and quality production with a reservoir tank of 10, 000 liters of liquid gas,” Engr.Babangida said.

He also said that the first machine is 19 years old but still working infectively and in good shape. ‘ It is all about plant preventive maintenance (PPM) culture. That is what we practice and apply here.” He added. “If this measure is not applied, any breakdown of the three machines will affect our production, and by and large, the hospital will suffer a shortfall of oxygen, and patients will not find it easy’. Also, other hospitals and their patients might be in a similar medical condition. This is because most hospitals in Maiduguri get their medical oxygen from us (UMTH)”. He said.

Speaking on the challenges faced by the medical oxygen plant, the Head of Production, Engr. Babangida Mohammed Inuwa said one major cog in the hospital and the plant is power. “You need power to energize you to do what you want to do. to achieve your goal. Power is energy, and energy is power. There is a major failure of power (electricity) in Maiduguri, and our hospital is at the receiving end. 

“However, our solar systems are bailing us out to some extent. But we need a national grid supply of power. Those in authority should come to our aid’. He said.

Indeed, this is absolutely a problem, as observed in Maiduguri generally. This protracted challenge of power, which has not only affected healthcare services in UMTH and Maiduguri but also business and social activities, calls for government and spirited individuals to come together to salvage the situation, particularly as it affects the health of the people in the state.

The UMTH is doing everything possible to ensure the best attention is given to power generation in the hospital; however, resources are being merged and could not give the needed output as expected. While this is so, it is expected that people should come to this understanding. Our findings revealed that some individuals within and outside the hospital are taking advantage of the electricity outage and/or power failure in the city of Maiduguri to accuse and label the hospital management for refusing to provide electricity to the wards and medical centers. This is absurd!

MOP is another stride in the UMTH (1).

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World Kedney Day: CMD Extols Borno Govt for Supporting UMTH’s Kedney Centre

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World Kedney Day: CMD Extols Borno Govt for Supporting UMTH’s Kedney Centre

By: Babagana Wakil

The Chief Medical Director of the University of Maiduguri teaching hospital, Professor Ahmed Ahidjo has reiterated the hospital’s commitment to the treatment of Kidney and other related diseases.

The hospital boss , made the disclosure yesterday while addressing members of the hospital Kidney Center as part of activities to mark the year 2024 World Kidney Day.

According to the Chief Executive, the hospital has remained a reference point among hospitals attending to such cases in Nigeria, while emphasizing that the role of the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum can not be overemphasized.

According to him, the state government have been responsive and committed to activities related to kidney research and development, part of which recently, the government kickstarted the process that targeted about 50 million Naira to fund and assist research process in the Centre.

He admonished members of the Kidney unit to continously demonstrate high sense of professionalism and expertise when dealing with patients while emphasizing that in UMTH, patients remains the king.

On his part, the Director of the Kidney Centre, Professor Ibrahim Ummate, called on the general public to prioritize their health, as he noted that kidney disease is fast growing

According to him, about 18 percent of Borno population is presumed to be suffering from Kidney disease, while advising that people should endeavor to always drink water, eat healthy, exercise and always go for checkup of atleast 3 to 6 months intervals.

World Kedney Day: CMD Extols Borno Govt for Supporting UMTH’s Kedney Centre

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US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

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US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

The United States has committed $20 billion into various health programmes in Africa, it said on Wednesday.

A released by the United States Embassy in Nigeria also revealed that: “In 2023 alone, the United States invested over $600 million in health assistance in Nigeria,” with U.S. partnerships on health in Nigeria saving millions of lives, strengthened health systems, and better prepared Nigeria and the region for current and future health security threats.

The release stated that: “The following are the facts about U.S. government partnership with Nigeria for health now and in the future: Preventing Malaria: Malaria threatens more than half the world’s population and claims the life of a child every minute, and the United States, together with our global partners, has helped save more than 11.7 million lives and prevented 2 billion malaria infections globally.

“Malaria is a leading cause of death in Nigeria, but malaria deaths in Nigeria have fallen by 55 percent since 2000. To advance Nigeria’s national. strategy to counter malaria, since 2011, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has taken steps to prevent illness and death by providing: Nearly 83 million insecticide-treated bed nets; 22 million malaria preventive treatments in pregnancy; 164 million fast acting malaria medicines; Insecticide to spray 121,000 homes; Over 102 million rapid diagnostic tests for malaria.

“Ending HIV: About 39 million people live with HIV globally, including an estimated 2 million in Nigeria. The United States and Nigeria are focused on ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has expanded HIV treatment and reduced HIV transmissions, saving more than 25 million lives in more than 50 partner countries over the past two decades and giving over 1.6 million Nigerians access to antiretroviral therapy. In Nigeria, PEPFAR has invested a total of more than $8.3 billion in the national HIV response.

“In 2023, PEPFAR resources supported:
Over 12 million people with HIV counseling and testing services; More than 2 million pregnant women with HIV counseling and testing services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; More than 1.8 million people living with HIV with TB/HIV services; More than 1.5 million orphans and vulnerable children with care and
support services

“Delivering Vaccines: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States helped Nigeria vaccinate 70 percent of its eligible populations. The U.S. government supports Nigeria to control, eliminate, and eradicate other vaccine-preventable diseases as well. Through technical expertise and programmatic support, the United States collaborates with international and local partners to strengthen immunization systems and expand routine vaccine delivery.

“In the course of these efforts, the U.S. government has: Donated 44 million doses of COVID vaccine; Supported vaccination of 2,145,063 children for polio in security-compromised areas, helping Nigeria become certified free of wild poliovirus in 2020; Supported introduction of four new vaccines for children, including
rotavirus, IPV2, measles, and HPV.

“Advancing Global Health Security: The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Ebola, mpox, and other outbreaks in the country and region, has shown the devastating impacts of infectious disease on health, economies, and societies. Together, the United States and Nigeria are working to strengthen health security capacities. Several U.S. government agencies partner with the Nigerian government to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from emerging public health threats. Through these collaborations, we are protecting the health of Nigerians, Americans, and people across the globe. Key activities in Nigeria include: Establishing a Public Health Emergency Management Program that has trained 55 national and subnational emergency managers who have responded to seven priority outbreaks; Enhancing Nigeria’s national disease surveillance systems, by training more than 800 epidemiologists and scientists to promote global best practices; Developing Nigeria’s laboratory diagnostics to test for Ebola, mpox, yellow fever, measles, Lassa fever, cholera, and cerebrospinal meningitis, thus strengthening Nigeria’s ability to quickly detect and respond to outbreaks.”

US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

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