According to the Nigeria Health Watch, N262b ($1.7b) was allocated to Health in Nigeria’s 2014 budget out of which 82 per cent was spent on recurrent expenditure.
That N262b to Health, about six per cent of the total budget and second only to Defense, Education and Finance , is slightly less than the N279 b allocated to Health in 2013.
An overview of healthcare financing in Nigeria published in International Journal of Health Policy Management on January 2, 2015, noted: “The situation in Nigeria shows that government funding for the health sector has been unsatisfactory over the years. Evidence reveals that by the early 1980s the annual government allocation to health was estimated at 533.6 million US dollars. However, it nose-dived, reaching a trough of 58.8 million US dollars in 1987.
Between 1996 and 1999, there was an increase, and by 2002, it rose to 524.4 million US dollars, then climaxing to about 1.79 billion US dollars in 2013.
The irregularity in budgetary allocation to Health reflects in the percentage of total yearly budget, as evidence reveals a pattern from as low as 3.6 per cent in 1996 increasing to 5.0 per cent in 1997; then declining to 2.7 per cent in 2000 and then rising marginally to 5.6 per cent by 2013. Some reports even reveal it remained at about 1 per cent in the 1990s to just under 5 per cent in the last decade.
According to a study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal titled :Community based healthcare financing: An untapped option to a more effective healthcare funding in Nigeria, “between 1996 and 2000 Federal budgetary allocation to health in Nigeria has ranged from N 4, 838 million in 1996 to N 17, 581.9 million in the year 2000. Health budget as a percentage of total Federal Government budget had adopted a rather irregular pattern from as low as 3. 4 per cent in 1996, increasing to just 5. 0 per cent in 1997 and declining to a paltry 2. 7per cent in the year 2000.
This irregularity in pattern has also been reflected in the allocation to capital expenditure, which had ranged from N 1, 659. 6 million to N 11, 579. 6 million over the period of 1996 to 2000.”
According to a study on Health care expenditure, health status and national productivity in Nigeria (1999-2012), published in Journal of Economics and International Finance, between 2005 and 2012, Nigeria’s Health Development Index (HDI) value increased from 0.434 to 0.471, an average annual increase of about 1.2 per cent.
However, health spending as a proportion of the Federal Government expenditures shrank from an average of 3.5 per cent in the 1970s to less than two per cent in the 1980s and 1990s.
Nigeria was ranked 187th among the 191 United Nations member states in 2000. That same year, Nigeria spent 4USD per capita on health, below WHO‟s minimum benchmark of 14USD per capita for developing countries.
By 2002, total health expenditure was a dismal 4.7 per cent. In 2012, total health expenditure as percentage of GDP stood at 5.3 per cent, ranked 153 out of 187th countries and territories.