Participants at the dissemination of the 2017 Lagos State Health Budget Scorecard learnt how the non-release of N50m budget for purchase of family planning essential commodities in Lagos State Primary Healthcare Centres is stalling service delivery to women needing to prevent unwanted pregnancies .
The N50m budget was said to have actually represented an increased commitment by government in 2017 budget following intense advocacy by civil society organisations, but has however suffered for the second year on, as it is yet to be released in the third quarter of 2018.
They noted with dismay how despite the budgetary approval of N50m for family planning commodities and consumables in the health budget, the memo giving approval for the release of the money has remained stalled at the governor’s office.
“As at September 28, 2018 the memo to release even the N21m required to make purchases for consumables to be used at family planning clinics across the states is stalled by the non-signing of the memo at the Governor’s office”, stakeholders lament.
Stakeholders lamented that despite the robust advocacy for budget increases “which yielded some good fruits in the 2017 health budget allocations, the performance of the year had been mostly poor with no release made to purchase life-saving commodities in most of the Health centres”.
According to the MamaYe-Evidence for Action score card 2017 on ‘Stockout of Essential Life-Saving Commodities in Primary Health Facilities’ between January and June 2018, indicators showed, many Health Centres had stock out on essential commodities such as Misoprostol, Oxytocin and Magnesium Sulphate.
“Although there were some facilities which did not experience out of stock of these lifesaving commodities”, says Mrs. Sakeenah Salvador Bakori of the Lagos State Advocacy Working Group, “yet it would be of tremendous benefits to all women who access family planning services at the various health centres if the commodities are always available for them.
“We are asking the Lagos State Government to release funds to procure essential life-saving commodities so it can be provided free at the PHCs”, she reiterated.
The Evidence for Action score card noted, “The observed stockout of these commodities across most of the PHCs in the first three months of the year can be attributed to lack of these commodities in the state for distribution”.
Some of the PHCs which recorded stockout included Ilogbo Primary Health Centre, Ajido Primary Health Centre, Badagry, Awoyaya Primary Health Centre, Igbogbo Primary Health Centre, Ikorodu Primary Health Centre, Ipakodo Primary Health Centre, Marina Primary Health Centre (Awhajigbon Quarters) and Ibeju Primary Health Centre amongst others.
Stakeholders learnt how the Teens Mums Clinic, Oko Awo Lagos Island, founded by government to look after teenage pregnant mothers have been recording upsurge in attendance indicating the implication of out of stock of essential family planning commodities in the state as the clinic caters for pregnant teens reporting from various parts of the state.
Data from the Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint shows that 56% of sexually active young people intend to access and use family planning commodities to prevent unwanted pregnancies, only 33% of them actually use it due to unmet needs.
Media participants at the dissemination of the report equally observed that though the State Government has improved on the 2018 health budget of N92.6bn, it would be meaningless if the performance of the budget does not translate into any meaningful impact especially when nothing is released to save lives of women and children.
For example, only 44% of pregnant women were reported to have shown up for antenatal care in the first three months of the year especially, in their first 20 weeks of gestation which is an insufficient progress and far below the acceptable standard of between 50% and 75% recommended by the World Health Organisation.