“provision for the maintenance and upgrading of our hospital and other health facilities has been reduced from $3.0B last year to $1B in the current budget proposal.
In his presentation to the Budget Debate in Gordon House yesterday, Phillips observed that “the provision for Health has moved marginally from $5.53B in the last budget to $5.61B in 2017/18. “This indicates that basic medical supplies such as gloves, bandages, needles etc. will still be in short supply at our public hospitals,” Phillips said.
In addition, the former Finance Minister pointed out that interestingly, the “provision for the maintenance and upgrading of our hospital and other health facilities has been reduced from $3.0B last year to $1B in the current budget proposal.
Similarly, he said the provision for institutional strengthening to improve national surveillance and control of infectious diseases such as Zik-V and Chik-V and the threat of malaria had also been reduced by $5M from $15M in 2016/17 to $10M in 2017/18.
Dr. Phillips said he heard the Health Minister “indicating that he would be looking towards the Trust Fund of the National Health Fund (NHF) to assist in financing the capital works for the Ministry of Health. But he warned that the Opposition will stoutly oppose any depletion of the Trust Fund of the NHF.
Phillips told Parliament that “the Health Fund was established to provide a medication subsidy for persons suffering from high blood pressure, sugar, asthma, cancer, obesity, heart problems among others.
He said the focus on subsidy and the promotion of lifestyle changes by the NHF, was designed to take the pressure off hospitalization by the treatment of these chronic non-communicable diseases and so reduce the cost to the Budget.
Approximately two-thirds of the Health Budget goes to secondary and tertiary care (hospitalization). Thirty five per cent of these patients that are hospitalized suffer from these critical non-communicable diseases.
“While we recognize the need for urgent funding to assist the ailing health sector, it is critical that this be done in a sustainable way, “ Phillips declared.
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