USAID: Ebonyi Assembly Speaker Calls For Proper Utilization Of Fundsmeant For Healthcare Projects

Source: Mbam Ogodo, Abakaliki.

The Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Moses Ije Odunwa has called for proper utilization of funds released for healthcare projects in the state for effective healthcare delivery to the citizens.

The speaker made the call during a policy dialogue on health sector financing in Ebonyi state, an event organized by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Nigeria State2State.

The two-day policy dialogue took place in Uburu Ohaozara, Ebonyi State.

Represented by the Deputy Speaker of the House Hon Chinedu Onah, Speaker Odunwa maintained that health is everybody's project, and therefore, shouldn't be taken for granted and that funds meant for the sector should not be diverted for personal reasons.

Dr Sam Onyia, the United States Agency International Development (USAID) Nigeria State Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness (State2State) Activity Ebonyi State Team Lead in his remarks explained that brainstorming on policy issues in healthcare projects is very important in order to fill gaps in health financing and achieving the universal health coverage in the state.

Dr. Onyia said that funds for healthcare should be strategically spent and drugs should also be well managed for effective service delivery.

He added that there was a need for stakeholders in the health sector to look into health facilities and how they function in the State.

Mrs. Victoria Eze, State2State Local Government Manager, Ebonyi State explained that the meeting was aimed at bringing health sector stakeholders together to identify challenges in the health sector including policy implementation and policy deficits.

Others according to her are to identify health financing policies required in the state and all available opportunities for funding of the health sector in the state.

Chibueze Nwonye, USAID State2State public finance management (PFM) Specialist in a presentation on Ebonyi State Health Sector budget and actual expenditure 2021-2024 urged the state Assembly members to oversight and query if the budget released has been used for what it is meant for because of the critical nature of the health sector.

Nwonye said, "Ensuring sufficient, reliable, and sustainable funding for healthcare is essential for creating a health system that is both effective and fair. States must embrace policy reforms in healthcare financing to enhance the availability of resources necessary for progress towards universal health coverage".

Hon Abiri Godwin Abiri from the State House of Assembly alongside other State House of Assembly members who participated in the policy dialogue meeting, emphasized that health care is a priority to the State Government, therefore they would continue to work hard to see that there is an increase, release, and proper utilization in the health budget.

Mrs. Chinwe Okah, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, represented by Mr. Chijioke Ogbodo, in her submission, noted that Ebonyi surpassing 15% demand for the healthcare sector is germine but that if 1% of the budget is released, let it be properly managed for the benefit of the people.

Other Participants including the Executive Secretary of Ebonyi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Philip Ovuoba, SA to the Governor on Primary Health, Dr. Nwibo Sabinus, CSO representatives among others harped on improved monitoring, manpower in PHCs, and enlightenment of citizens on services in health facilities in the State