Liberia: Civil Society Group Wants Gov’t Increase Health Budget to 15 Percent

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Monrovia – A civil society group, the Partnership for Sustainable Development, has petitioned the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to increase the Ministry of Health’s budget to 15 percent to improve the country’s struggling healthcare system.

According to the group, increasing the health budget will enable the country to meet up with the Abuja Declaration.

In April 2001, African Union countries met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector and urged donor countries to scale up support. 

The Partnership for Sustainable Development’s call follows an intensive three-day budget tracking working section that was held from the 15th to 17th May 2019.

Reading the petition statement at the Ministry of Finance over the weekend, the Program Manager of the Partnership for Sustainable Development Thomas N. Teah said they were able to review the current and past national budgets from 2014 to 2019 fiscal years’ along with other health policy documents at the three-day budget tricking working section.

“During the course of the three-day budget tracking working section, data and information were gathered, analyzed, follow by findings derived at and recommendations made to address the problems identified as the result of the research which information and data have been developed into this petition,” Teah reading the petition statement said.

The program manager said their research shows that the Government of Liberia during the five fiscal years – 2014 to 2019 – did not fund the Health Ministry with the targeted 15 percent setup by the Abuja Declaration.

Teah added that the highest allotment from the Government was 11.1 percent in 2018/2019 fiscal year.

Other counts in the petition include the increase in public spending on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescents Health (RMNCH) and sexual Productive health (SRH).

The group also want the MFDP to ensure that the Ministry of Health has a clear budget line for reproductive maternal newborn child, adolescent and sexual reproductive health (Rape, FGM, SEA and SGBV Programs and Services) in the health budget.

Receiving the petition on behalf of MFDP, the Deputy Minister for Budget Tanneh Brunson told the group that Ministry is still reviewing the budget and will look at some of the issues highlighted in the petition.

Madam Brunson said: “We know that female issue is critical and anything that affects women affects the country as well. So, as a female, I promised you that we will take the right step forward.”

MFDP recently opened a gender budgeting planning unit, and Brunson says the issues raised by the civil society group are critical for the development of the country.

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