By Philip Yatai

Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM), on Friday, urged the Kaduna State Government to ensure timely release of allocated funds to the health sector to improve service delivery.

KADMAM is a dialogue platform co-facilitated by government and citizens to promote transparency and accountability in the health sector, and to improve the quality of service delivery.

Yusaha’u Abubabakr, Secretary, Advocacy Committee, KADMAM, made the call in Kaduna, a one-day health budget performance analysis to sustain advocacy for improved 2022 budget releases.

The meeting was supported by Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), a governance programme of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Abubakar, while presenting the 2022 health budget performance said that of the N38.1 billion revised budget for the health sector, only N22 billion was spent, representing 57.8 per cent.

He said that performance left a variance of N16.1 billion, adding that the performance falls below the expected 75 per cent in third quarter, at 25 per cent performance in each quarter.

“We are also worried that five out of eight health agencies performance is below 50 per cent as at the third quarter of 2021.

“The government should prioritise investment in the health sector, by ensuring timely release of allocated funds to the health sector to implement planned programmes and project.

“This, in the long run, will help improve the quality of health services that will improve the health outcome of the state population,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Adejor Abel, State Partnership Facilitator PERL, pointed out that improving health the health outcome of citizens requires a multisectoral approach.

Abel pointed out that other sectors like water sanitation and hygiene, social protection, local governance, environment in one way of the other affect the health outcome of citizens and general wellbeing of the people.

He stressed the need to synergies and leverage on the potential of other accountability mechanisms to ensure the delivery of quality health services in the state.

He identified the mechanisms as Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition, Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM), Network of Civil Society on Environment and Society for Water and Sanitation.

He said that the meeting was expanded to cover other accountability mechanisms to be able to triangulate and synergies strategies to improve the delivery of quality health services in Kaduna State

According to him, the meeting is organised conduct a three-year budget performance trend analysis of the health sector and use outcomes to advocate for increase health budget releases.

“The meeting was also organised to sustain advocacy towards influencing health sector spending and prioritisation of the sector.

“The meeting was also to mobilise for sustained advocacy towards influencing local government budget releases.”

At the meeting, participants agreed to advocate to the Planning and Budget Commission to demand for budget performance review to determine the gap between expenditure and expected results.

They also agreed to advocate to the Ministry for Finance and Liquidity Committee to push for timely release of allocated funds to relevant ministries, departments, and agencies.

The accountability mechanism also agreed to advocates to relevant committees of the State Assembly to push for timely release of budgetary allocations to MDAs performing below 50 per cent.