Two Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), Connected Development (CODE) and ONE Campaign, have commended the Federal Government for increasing funding for the healthcare sector in 2017.

The organisations expressed their satisfaction in separate statements made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja by their respective chief executives.

Mr Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer, signed for CODE, while Mr Edwin Ikhuoria, the Country Representative, signed for ONE Campaign.

Lawal said that the increase was necessary as it would help tackle the crisis facing the health sector and ensure economic development.

“The 2017 budget presentation brings hope for citizens – mostly people in rural communities.

“Public healthcare investments remain a key ingredient of development, poverty reduction and human capital development.

“We also pledge to support the government by working with the community to ensure that this money is actually spent well and transparently,” he said.

Lawal urged the government to open the budget so that citizens can monitor funds allocated to improve their welfare.

He added that this would ensure better health outcomes in communities and promote good governance.

On his part, Ikhuoria of ONE Campaign, said the increase depicts progress and should be welcomed.

He noted that emphasis should be placed on citizens in the rural communities that are bedevilled with serious health challenges in the face of the current economic crisis.

“Putting more money into Nigeria’s healthcare will not only boost the economy but will change people’s lives, particularly the poor, who are living in dire circumstances especially during this recession.

“ONE applauds the budget increase in capital health projects as a step in the right direction – by emphasising on primary healthcare and fighting malnultrition.

“The President and the Government have taken action to help all citizens particularly those in the North East most affected by poverty.

“We urge that this momentum does not stop by creating the Basic Health Care Provision Fund with a minimum of 1 per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund into health and fulfilling the promises made in the National Health Act.

“Only by delivering on this commitment and building a pathway towards spending 15 per cent on health as promised in the 2001 African Union  Abuja Declaration, will the Government  be poised to end the health crisis needed to  successfully Make Naija Stronger,” he said.

NAN recalls that the 2017 budget for the Ministry of Health is N252.87 billion and the capital spending provision is N51 billion.