Liberia Fails AU's 15 Percent Health Commitment?

Group of the civil society organizations in the country has frowned on the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf led administration for its failure to live up its commitment to allocate 15% of its national budget to the country health sector.

The group which comprised of ten civil society organizations under the banner Liberia Civil Society National Budget and Human Rights Forum said Liberia is among several African Union countries that committed themselves to the exercise.

In April 2001, heads of state and governments of the African Union (AU) member states met in Abuja, Nigeria and committed to allocate 15% of their national budget of the health sector and said commitment was re-affirmed at a special summit in 2006 and at the 15th session of the Ordinary AU Assembly in July 2010.

But since the re-affirmation at the special summit in 2006 and at the 15th session of the Ordinary AU Assembly in 2010, the group alleged that the Government of Liberia is far from meeting this benchmark.

The groups said as the Government of Liberia as one of the important members of AU is yet to be in compliance of 15% allocation of its health sector, several member countries have met this benchmark.

Those countries according to the groups that met the 15% benchmark by 2012 include Rwanda (18.8%), Botswana (17.8%), Niger (17.8%), Malawi (17. %), Zambia (16.4%), and Burkina Faso (15.8%).

According to the civil society groups of these countries, only Rwanda and Niger are in the top ten best performance economic growth rates in Africa released in February 15, 2013 by the AU and UN.

The group made the assertion recently when they delivered a Briefing Paper #3 to Liberia's Legislators and cabinet officials responsible for public financial management during a news conference held on July 3, 2013 at the offices of the Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia (CUPPADL) in Monrovia.

Delivering the paper, the Executive Director of the Citizens United to Promote Peace and Democracy in Liberia (CUPPADL), Prince Kreplah said the way forward is for the Legislature to use its wisdom and authority and increase the health sector's budget by an additional US$27,910, 321 for Liberia to close the gap on the country realization of the AU requirement.

He noted that the National Legislature must restore the midwife compensation funds to enable them to be effective in delivering pregnant women at all times.

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