COVID -19: PTF Not Structured To Be Accountable —— Dr. Aminu Garba

A health budget management expert Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba has faulted the structure of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 saying it’s composition does not engender accountability. Dr. Garba who is the Coordinator for the Africa Health Budget Network, also identified the rigorous bureaucratic processes involved in the release of approved funds as the major problem the Nigeria’s health system is faced with.
Dr. Garba made the statement Wednesday when he featured on a radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG), a civil society organization.
While x-raying the topic: DWINDLING HEALTH BUDGET, POOR MEDICAL SERVICES AND COVID-19 MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA, he stated that the Nigeria’s health sector took a nose dive following corona virus pandemic that ravaging Nigeria and the rest of the world.
He said PTF composition should have included representatives of all interest groups such as CSOs, labour and other professionals.
Dr. Garba pinned the opaque nature of the PTF and its inability to be open and transparent on the fact that all its members are Civil Servants.

He said that the biggest challenge bedeviling effective management and funding of the health sector is not about allocation but releases. Noting that the “Health Minister must be proactive in order to facilitate the release of monies budgeted and approved for the health sector, ”

When asked how much of Nigeria’s health budgetary allocation becomes reality, Dr Garba, had this to say: “In 2018, the approved healthcare allocation was N58 billion, N51 billion in 2019, and N44 billion in 2020.

“However, in 2018, only 25 percent of the funds approved was released”
He said in 2019 there was zero release of fund budgeted for some aspects of the health sector.
On COVID-19 management, Dr Garba insisted that dilapidated Primary Health Centres scattered all over the country needs urgent attention by the state governors.

Dr. Garba called for citizens advocacy to promote interest of key stakeholders and the National Assembly on the need to give priority for the releases of budgetary allocations for the health sector.

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