THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to prioritise health systems in their budgets as part of ways to recover and rebuild from post COVID-19 and curb health inequalities across the world.
Director-General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom said this on Wednesday during his address in commemoration of the 2021 World Health Day.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic had caused so many sufferings on people, stressing that countries should key into things that would eliminate inequalities in access to health care.
According to Tedros, governments should prioritise stimulus spending and longer-term recovery plans
He noted that countries must commit to equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments & services, within and between countries.
The DG also stated the governments should ensure that it strengthened health information systems and invest in better data to shine a light on inequalities as well as those that were being left behind.
On the inequality between rural and urban environments in various countries, the DG said governments should deliver equitable access to services and infrastructure to ensure safe, healthy and inclusive neighbourhoods in both areas.
He further stated that all governments should ensure that as they tried to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19, they strengthened primary health care as the foundation of universal health coverage.
He lamented that COVID19 pushed an estimated 120 million people into extreme poverty in 2019 and gender inequalities significantly increased as more women than men left the labour force.
“As we speak, rich countries are vaccinating their populations while the poor watch and wait, health inequalities are not just unfair, they make the Earth globe less safe and less sustainable,” Tedros said.
Nigeria’s post- COVID-19 health budget
The 2021 budget of Nigeria has been passed by the National Assembly. Checks by The ICIR show that the percentage of the health sector budget is only 3.06 of the nation’s total budget.
The total recurrent expenditure as contained in the budget is N415.23 billion while the capital expenditure is N134.59 billion. This means that the total allocation of Nigeria for the health sector in 2021 was N549.83bn out of the N13.58 trillion budget passed by the National Assembly.
The ICIR discovered that the recurrent expenditure of the health budget claimed 75.5 percentage while the remaining 24.50 per cent was meant for the capital expenditure.
In Nigeria, doctors, under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), have commenced a nationwide strike action over unmet demands by the government, including payment of salaries for house officers who have been owed for three months and resident doctors who are owed between three and six months.
As the strike action continues, President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to receive medical care in London, United Kingdom, while Nigerians die in hospitals.