GOVERNMENT has been rapped for lack of commitment to the provision of primary health care at a time the country is witnessing a rise in non-communicable diseases (NDCs) and other ailments.
by FELUNA NLEYA
Executive director for Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) Itai Rusike said in an annual report that they had noted with concern that many programmes to do with primary health care were being left out and not supported fully.
“CWGH notes with concern that programmes such as the Village Health Workers (VHW), NCDs and environmental health had no expenditures up to October 2014,” Rusike said.
“Consequently, their allocations for 2015 have been remarkably reduced. This only shows a serious lack of commitment by Treasury for the primary health cause, especially given the rise in incidences of NDCs, poor sanitation and the emergency of new public health threats.”
He said the VHWs played a pivotal role in communities and needed to be recognised and supported.
“The VHW programme plays a pivotal role in the provision of primary health care at the community level for the marginalised and some of the hard to reach places,” Rusike said.
“Therefore, CWGH notes with concern that the current expenditure levels and the 2015 National Budget allocation towards the VHWs is insufficient to promote comprehensive access to primary health care at community level, specifically for the hard to reach populations and the home based care patients.”
CWGH added: “VHWs are currently pivotal in programmes such as HIV/Aids, malaria control, home based care activities and maternal and child health hence the need for more resources.”
The CWGH said the organisation remained committed to improving community participation and has intensified programmes in the community.
“It is with these amounting health challenges in mind that CWGH remains committed to enhancing community participation in health through advocacy, networking and capacity development for the attainment of the right to health and equitable health services in the country,” Rusike said.
“This has seen the CWGH intensifying advocacy, calling for the removal of user fees for maternal, neonatal and child health services in the country.”
The 2015 National Budget allocation was a mere 6,3% of the total national budget which falls far short of the Abuja target of 15%.