Kaduna — Kaduna state has budgeted the sum of N11.6billion to be spent on improved health care delivery in the state this year, the commissioner for health, Turaki Kalik has disclosed.
Some N4.9 billion is billed for capital expenditure and recurrent expenditure gets N6.7billion.
The commissioner who disclosed this in an interview after defending his ministry's budget before the state assembly said N1billion would be spent on free maternal and child health care, which suffered setback last year.
He assured that the state already had its set programmes for procurement and distribution of drugs as well as the subvention that normally go to hospitals that cushions emergencies and other services including accident, surgery and other services that may be required for pregnant women and children.
In separate votes, malaria control and HIV/AIDS get N100 million. Another N3 billion goes to upgrade of primary healthcare centres and the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospitals into a teaching hospital, as well as housing for medical students of Kaduna State University.
Kalik said the increase in recurrent expenditure is also to allow hiring of more health workers. Kaduna suffers a shortfall of doctors apart from the 240 on state payroll and those on contract employment.
But Dr Shehu Usman, who heads the committee on health in the state assembly, described the health ministry's implementation of 2012 budget as very low, calling it a trend with other state ministries.
"The problem lies with the nature of the budgetary process whereby huge sum of money are been appropriated while the sources are very minimal and there are competing demands between recurrent issues and capital issues," he said.
The committee has also demanded names of contractors handling projects in a bid to stop them rolling over from previous years. It will also meet with medical directors of primary health centres to try and solve problems of absentee nurses and doctors.