The Federal Health Budget for 2021 proposed a recurrent health budget of N380billion and a capital budget of N132billion. In addition, the budget for the Basic Health Care Fund is proposed to be N35 billion. This gives a total health budget of N547 billion. This is only a 3.6% increase in 2021 (so well below the rate of inflation), only 4.2% of the total proposed budget, and only N2, 735 per Nigerian.
In 2001 African governments pledged to spend at least 15% of their budgets on health in the Abuja Declaration. In 2012, WHO estimated the minimum spending per person per year needed to provide basic, life-saving services were at least US$44 (N8,800).
As a percentage of GDP, the Nigerian government spends not much more than a quarter of the average level for sub-Saharan Africa. On a per-capita basis, Nigeria spends not much more than a third of the average level for sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank Database 2016/7).
As a result, Nigerians have to pay nearly 80% of their health costs from their own pockets. As 40% of the population is poor they cannot afford to have proper health treatment and so many people, especially children and women die from diseases that are easily avoided or treated (like malaria, typhoid, cholera…)

“I will increase national health expenditure per person per annum to about N50,000 (from the less than N10,000 currently)” claimed Buhari’s manifesto in 2015. According to the World Bank, health expenditure per capita reduced from “US$98 in 2015, to US$79 in 2016, and US$74 in 2017.” World Bank Pulse, April 2020, (page 20). For 2021 Buhari proposed less than N2,750 per person in the Federal budget. Far from increasing expenditure on health, everyone of Buhari’s budgets since 2016 has spent less than the PDP budget for 2015 in real terms.

This is why there have been so many strikes this year by doctors and health workers. It also explains why Buhari failed to deliver on his 2015 promise to “Provide free ante-natal care for pregnant women; free health care for babies and children up to school-going age and for the aged.”

Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of newborn deaths in Africa and general health statistics are worse than the average for sub-Saharan Africa. At least 124 children die per 1,000 before their fifth birthday, making Nigeria’s under-five mortality one of the highest worldwide. “Every day, approximately 2,300 under-five-year-olds and 145 women of childbearing age die in Nigeria. These deaths are mostly preventable.” (BudgIT (2018) Nigeria: Health Budget Analysis, page 4).


  1. While I agree with you that the budget for health services is too inadequate, I disagree with you on areas of blaming political parties by making comparison between PDP and APC.
    This kind of opinion is what is still further drifting us apart as the masses because we are easily cajoled into forming sentimental opinions.
    As far as Objectivity is concerned, there is no any difference between PDP and APC. It is obvious that it is the same political elites of PDP that cross-carpeted to APC, and they would always do that because their interest is the God they worship.
    Please, stop using this kind of narrative as it is only further helping our political elites when we are divided along whatever lines possible.
    As to associating NARD strike with Govt spending inadequacies, I strongly disagree with you too. I’m a Nurse by profession and a labour leader for many years. The truth is that we lack good leadership in the health sector because our perception in Nigeria is that only Medical Doctors are most important than other healthcare Professionals which is why only Medical Doctors are given leadership/managerial roles, and only them are allowed to Progress academically and Professionally by using Govt’s resources to ease expenses for them. Their only priority now is how to dominate other health care Professionals, not to uplift the service delivery to the masses. They have failed in Leadership yet our political elites and general public have failed to understand. If you can’t manage judiciously a N10 given to you today, you certainly will not be able to manage a N20 you will be given tomorrow. And as long as a leader or manager is biased, the system will never grow.
    I pray that we would one day understand and allow the objective part of our judgement to lead us, not sentiment.
    I have respect for my Colleagues of the medical profession and I always live with them with clean heart, but I disagree with their bias in managing the healthcare entrusted to them by the Govt on behalf of the Nigerian People.


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