Addressing journalists Monday, the Executive Director of CUPPADL, a member of the group, Prince D. Kreplah indicated that the organization was x-raying the draft budget from the human rights perspective, which he said the organization wants stakeholders to address.
Having paged through the draft budget and compared it with past budgets, Kreplah called on Government to put in place mechanisms on how increase allotment for health to 15% in compliance with international protocols. In the draft budget, he said 8.4 is being allocated for health but stressed the need for Government to double its efforts by creating a mean to reach the benchmark.
According to him, analyses have shown over the years that more money has been allotted to fuel and lubricants at some ministries and agencies while the healthcare delivery remains illusive, something he called on the National Legislature to critically look at these areas. He termed allocation for fuel and lubricants as "standby" which he said would not have been the priorities over the actual services to the people.
Against this backdrop, Kreplah called on the Legislature to challenge the Executive Branch to transition from Generator electricity to the LEC power supply so as to alleviate some of the hurdles being faced by the budget implementations in Liberia.
Right to Health-Kreplah said the right to health is a fundamental part of the human rights and of the understanding of a life in dignity. "The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to give it its full name, is not new," he said.
Internationally, he indicated that it was first articulated in the 1946 Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), whose preamble defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". The preamble further states that "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition."
Liberia Compliance with International Treaties and Agreements
According to the group’s briefing paper, Kreplah said in April 2001, Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU) Member states met in Abuja and committed to allocate 15% of their national budget to the Health Sector. This commitment, according to him, was re-affirmed at a Special Summit in 2006 and at the 15th Session of the Ordinary AU Assembly in July 2010.
Only Six (6) AU Member States have met the 15% benchmark including Rwanda (18.8%); Botswana (17.8%); Niger (17.8%); Malawi (17.1%); Zambia (16.4%) and Burkina Faso (15.8%). In spite of Liberia’s commitment to this continental and sub regional agreement, and repeated pronouncement of increase in revenue and economic growth, the country is still far from meeting this benchmark.
Liberia’s target to meet the 15% requirement is estimated at 65,484,681.The draft National Budget 2011/2012 allocation for the health sector is low; only 8.4% (36,824,243), meaning the an additional of 28,660,438 is require for the current budget allocation to the health sector to reach 15%.
The World Health Organization (WHO) required countries to spent 40 USD annually per person health needs. For Liberia to be in full compliance with this requirement, she will have to spend 139,064,320 annually including international assistance (donors) and the government spending. More details in our subsequent editions.