FG budgets N20bn for indigent Nigerians

The Federal Government has budgeted N20bn to scale up Conditional Cash Transfers in 30 states for the health of women and children this year, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, has said.

Under the CCT scheme, the government intends to empower over 56,000 indigent Nigerians from 24 states with about N10bn while a total of 224,000 children of school age will also be sustained.

A statement issued on Monday in Abuja by the Head (Information and Communications) in the MDGs Office, Dr. Christopher Otabor, quoted Gbeneol as saying this during the 16th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Society of Family Physicians of Nigeria held in Keffi, Nassarawa State, with the theme: ‘Medicine and the Law’.

According to her, the MDGs framework has helped to focus international and local attention on improving the health of the most vulnerable in the Nigerian society.

Gbeneol said, “Efforts are being made across board with other initiatives such as the Conditional Grants Scheme as well as the deployment of the groundbreaking mobile money technology to drive the new scale of CCT up, for which President Jonathan has approved the sum of N10bn; N20bn has been budgeted to scale up the CCT in 30 states for the health of women and children this year, 2013.”

The Presidential aide said that inadequate human resources remained a major challenge to health care in Nigeria, adding that it must be addressed in order to make the required progress.

She urged the participants to consider family medicine in the context of equality of access and human rights which are the two major enablers of development as set in the African Common Position on the Post- 2015 Development agenda.

“In ensuring universality of access to quality health care in Nigeria, issues such as sustainability, passage of the health bill, healthcare financing, Gross Domestic Product, health budget ratio, Public-Private Partnership, universal health insurance, among others will help health care in the country,” Gbeneol said.

She said the MDG office in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and international development agencies are implementing programmes such as the Midwives Service Scheme, Community Health, Extension Workers initiative, the Village Health Workers Scheme, the Saving One Million Lives Initiatives and the United Nations MDGs acceleration Framework.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, in his keynote address, commended the SOFPON members for the efforts they were making to sustain family health and urged them to rise above some of the impediments to accelerate the practice of family medicine in the country.

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