Kano Healthcare Budget Tanks: 2024 Allocations Plummet Below Abuja Declaration Benchmark

22 Days(s) Ago    👁 152
kano healthcare budget tanks 2024 allocations plummet below abuja declaration benchmark
Kano Healthcare Budget Tanks: 2024 Allocations Plummet Below Abuja Declaration Benchmark

When 13yrs old Rafe'a (not real name) was wheeled into the operations theater of the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital Kano for a surgical procedure due to a severe typhoid perforation, her relatives and benefactors never envisaged that the aftermath of that surgery was going to be catastrophic.

The lack of equipment for post operative care and absence of necessary drugs particularly antibiotics to prevent further infection, secured Rafe'a's painful and untimely death at the hospital.

Similar situation is not unlikely across the board in the healthcare provision circle. Despite Kano's free maternal and child healthcare program funded by the Kano State Government which offers free healthcare services to pregnant women and children under the age of five with the aim of reducing maternal and child mortality rates, many pregnant women in the state have decried lack of access to routine drugs, vaccines and birthing kits under the free maternal care program.

"Situations like this usually bring about war on the homefront contributing to broader domestic violence, because a pregnant woman's husband understands that there is free maternal care catered for by the state government, but here's his wife demanding for money from him for the same items that's supposedly free. We have on several occasions spent money from our purse to provide for some of these pregnant women even when the allocations for this programs are there in the budget," says Khadijah Aliyu Ammani, the Founder and Executive Director of White Heart Development Initiative, a Kano based non profit that caters for women and children's needs true empowerment and self development.

According to Ammani who planned to celebrate her forthcoming birthday by crowdsourcing and donating free maternal care drugs to some facilities in the state, the absence of these care materials despite allocations made in the budget is widening the maternal and child mortality problem in the state.

She says the situation is so dire that sometimes even sterilisers cannot be found in children's wards.

"Even when Doctors make prescriptions that require dressing of wounds twice or more a day, the kids end up not getting even one. There was a time we had a patient in that ward, he rarely got the needed care, the room was just smelling. At the end of the day we had to take the child away and switch to a private facility," Ammani recalled.

Khadijah who once picked it up with a Doctor on duty says he confided in her that there was no supply of the required equipment made to the hospital despite allocations for the same in the budget, year in and year out.

"He even admitted that sometimes, in a situation where a patient is in extreme need, he had no option than to take out of his pocket to make the necessary provision," Ammani narrated further.

Despite Challenges, Healthcare Allocation Plummets as Non-Essential Spending Devours 2024 Budget

While the solutions to most of these concerns rely heavily on budget accountability in terms of allocation and expenditure, a gap in the 2024 approved healthcare budget might have tanked the situation further.

Kano States recently approved budget for 2024 marks a troubling shift in healthcare prioritization with non essential spending taking a large chunk of the budget. For the past four years (2019-2023) , Kano consistently exceeded the Abuja Declaration s 15% health spending target. However, the 2024 budget slashes funding to a mere N34 billion (7.7%) as approved by the state assembly, a significant drop from the initially proposed N51.4 billion (14.7%) by the state government and a stark contrast to previous years commitments.

This dramatic decrease in health spending, despite exceeding the benchmark in recent years, raises concerns about Kanos dedication to improving its healthcare system. While realising this and yet to make the detailed breakdown of the approvals public, recurrent expenditures, encompassing salaries and administrative costs, devour a substantial 38% of the budget, leaving less for crucial capital projects that could strengthen healthcare infrastructure.

For instance, the Kano State Government budgeted over N5.32 billion for meals and the renovation of the governor's lodge and some other buildings at Government House.

The state proposed N800 million for the renovation of governor Yusuf's office at the Government House and N500 million for the renovation of his personal residence at 'Kwankwasiyya City' in the Kano metropolis according to a report by PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr Yusuf also proposed N200 million for phase one of the construction of a new governor's lodge in the same Kwankwasiyya City

The budget document seen by PREMIUM TIMES, shows that N15 million was allocated for