PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background: The budget provides the opportunity for combining plans and policies with available resources for the achievement of set national goals. The health sector budget seeks to implement the national and international commitments of Nigeria by making available the resources to improve peoples’ lives and health conditions. Nigeria still records high rates of maternal and child mortality and morbidity. With a diminished national resource profile, it becomes imperative to ensure that the rights of the vulnerable are protected through simple low cost investments. It is also a time to ensure that every naira spent by government delivers value whilst frivolous, inappropriate, unclear and wasteful spending is reduced to a minimum. Now is the time to seek new and innovative ways of resource mobilization, coordination and putting into action a minimum range of effective interventions that have been proven to work for the reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health. It is also time to re-invigorate the partnership of governments, partners and all stakeholders towards the attainment of improved health for mothers, new born and children.
1.2 Objective: The central objective of this Policy Brief is to review the estimates in the 2016 federal budget for Maternal, New Born and Child Health (MNCH) with a view to determining its adequacy for the task of protecting the rights to health and to life of persons who are to enjoy services to be provided from the budget. The Policy Brief seeks to hold government accountable to its obligations on MNCH. It will also provide budget analysts and monitors with background information to facilitate the tracking of expenditure when the budget is eventually approved.
The 2016 federal budget is presented as one founded on a Zero Base Budgeting (ZBB) framework. Ideally, this provides the opportunity to reconsider a lot of investment options and to determine the best way to spend available resources and to re-engineer the budget to deliver greater value. Budget items are queried and approved considering their comparative benefits and costs. Some form of costs benefit analysis is required for every single line item. New and old budget ideas compete for budget resources. Instead of justifying only increments to the existing baseline, the entire budget needs to be justified. ZBB reviews all aspects of an MDA programme – purpose, goals, activities, indicators of success and value for money principles. Thus, this Policy Brief provides the opportunity to review whether ZBB principles were followed in the preparation of the Health and MNCH estimates.
1.3 Methodology: The Policy Brief reviews the provisions made for MNCH in the 2016 estimates and compares it with the provisions of the previous year; whether the estimates are in tandem with the provisions of extant laws and policies. It will also review whether the estimates can meet the challenges in MNCH and whether it takes cognizance of recommendations made by experts from previous reviews of the health budget. The Policy Brief will discuss matters arising from the estimates, provide a conclusion and recommendations for the legislature and executive to improve the estimates before it becomes the approved budget.
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POLICY BRIEF:IMPROVING MATERNAL, NEWBORN AND CHILD HEALTH PROPOSALS IN THE 2016 FEDERAL BUDGET