ABUJA – Dr. Omale Amedu, the National Coordinator of National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS), yesterday pleaded for the provision of adequate funding for the procurement of quality blood in the healthcare sector.
Speaking during his 2021 budget defence session held at the instance of House Committee on Health Services, Dr Amedu disclosed that total sum of N3.7 billion was required to meet the blood supply across the 36 states, including Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He advocated for the need for the establishment a special intervention fund to enable the Agency to meet the blood demands of the country, Dr Amedu disclosed that average of N100 million per state to enable it to provide adequate and quality blood to the needs of Nigerians.
“We need adequate funding, in fact, we are appealing for a special intervention fund so that all the states can have NBTS. It is not good that some states have centers and others don’t have.
“Seventeen centres so far are available and the country requires more centres so that every state can benefit,” Dr, Amedu noted.
He, therefore, called for concerted efforts toward ensuring adequate funding so that government can benefit from NBTS investment which is currently working to produce blood components that can generate internal revenue and foreign exchange for the country.
However, the Committee expressed displeasure over underfunding of the Regional Centre for Oral Health Research and Training Initiatives for Africa (RCORTI).
Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Service, Hon. Adejare Babatunde who frowned at the development chided Federal Government for failing to maximize the abounding opportunities in the agency which was established in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to serve the 46 collaborating WHO/AFRO member countries.
Hon. Adejare argued that while many African countries were desirous of having the centre in their countries, Nigeria was starving the agency of needed funds and support.
“What I had the intention of saying here, I won’t say it again, I will leave it. But candidly speaking, if we cannot put what is needed to put in that agency to make it what it supposed to be, let another country take it up from us. That is the sincere thing about it.
“That is my own opinion about it. It hurts me to say this, but if we’re not ready to, a lot of countries vied to have this agency in their countries, but since they have given us, have we shown enough commitment to say that we really want it?
“That’s what I’m saying. We have to understand that there are commitments agreed to and as a country if we are going to be taken seriously by the international agencies and partners, we need to really go right with all the agreements we have signed. That’s my point here.”
Speaking earlier, RCORTI Director General/CEO, Dr. Balarabe Sanni expressed regrets over the paucity of fund and personnel required for the agency to achieve its core mandates.
While presenting the 2020 budget performance, he explained that out of the total sum of N88,320,411.04 approved as capital expenditure, the sum of N68,380,689.04 was released between January to September, leaving a balance of N19,939,722.
According to him, out of N12,823,375 approved for Overhead, the sum of N6,114,310.62 was released between January to September 2020, leaving the balance of N6,709,064.38 and N12,823,375.
For the year 2021 fiscal year, the sum of N431,904,748 budget proposal was approved by the Executive.