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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Call for Africa to beef up budget for health sector

28th March 2012

The health sector in many African countries is said to be lagging behind owing to inadequate budget allocations.

This has resulted in the sector's failure to implement some of its most important projects, including combating preventable diseases.

“The health sector is an important tool in any country as it plays a major role on people’s lives in ensuring economic growth and poverty reduction,” acknowledged African Economic Research Consortium’s (AERC) executive director Prof.William Lyakurwa in an interview on the sidelines of a seminar with the theme, 'Health, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa,' held in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Lyakurwa said that some African countries have been locating bumper budgets to other sectors while forgetting the health sector, which is an important component in the well-being of a healthy nation that wants to move forward in achieving development.

"For several decades, economists have only considered education (knowledge) as the main determinant of human capital, but what is this human capital?" he wondered.

He said that without good health, education is not sufficient to produce optimum results because with ill health "we are unable to effectively utilize the scare resource of time."

He said health ministers should come up with strategies that will see the sector's budgets increased in real terms.

Lyakurwa added, “The budgets allocated do not meet the requirement that will manage to face future challenges, including preventable diseases such TB, malaria, water-borne ailments and even the treatment of HIV-Aids”.

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