1.IntroductionHealthcare is a core component of human capital investment, which in turn rising itsspending also raises quality of life, prolonged life expectancy, reducingmorbidity and mortality rates (Byaro and Musonda, 2016). On otherhand, health outcomes symbolize how healthy a country is and assesses thequality of health care of the country. Thus, infant mortality, under-5mortality and life expectancy are known to be the most important indicators forearly childhood development and health status of the people of a country (Byaroand Musonda, 2016).
Similarly, Health expenditure consists of allexpenditures or outlays for medical care, prevention, promotion,rehabilitation, community health activities, health administration andregulation and capital formation with the predominant objective of improvinghealth of the people(Deluna and Faith, 2014), Public expenditurefor health care is important for improving health outcomes especially for thepoor as the poor are more likely to obtain health care from publicly providedfacilities. Countries with high level of public health spending have securedbetter health outcomes compared to countries with low level of public healthspending. This means that, the size of the public fund in health sector mattersfor better health outcomes (Byaro and Musonda, 2016).
“Health isindeed closely intertwined with economic growth and sustainable development.There is evidence that investing in health brings substantial benefits for theeconomy”. According to the WHO (2001) increasing life expectancyat birth by 10 per cent will increase the economic growth rate by 0.35 per centa year.
Health and economic matters are intimately linked in a number of ways. First,health is an important contributor to people’s ability to be productive and toaccumulate the knowledge and skills they need to be productive. Second, healthstatus is also a major determinant of one’s enrollment in and success inschool, which itself is an important contributor to future earnings. Third, thecosts of health care are also extremely important to individuals, especially topoor people, because large out of pocket expenditures can have a major impacton their financial status and can push them to poverty. Fourth, the costs ofhealth care are also very important to countries, because health is a majoritem of national expenditure of all countries.
Finally, the approach thatdifferent countries take to the financing and carrying out of health servicesraises important issues of equity (Deluna and Faith, 2014). WHOdefines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-beingand not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, it moves beyond a focus onindividual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions. Another major initiative for improved globalhealth is the United Nations Millennium Declaration. It was agreed to in 2000by 189 countries including Nigeria and India, exemplifying an unprecedentedcommitment on the part of both rich and poor countries to attain improvementsin human development by the year 2015.
This commitment is summarized in theMillennium Development Goals (MDGs) that set targets in areas of povertyreduction, health improvements, education attainment, gender equality,environmental sustainability, and fostering global partnerships (UNDP 2003).These movements are formed for the betterment of health outcomes. 2. Background ofthe StudyHealth is fundamental to enhancing the quality ofhuman life andensuring the socio economic progress of acountry.
In essence, without good health, a person cannot achieve anythingmeaningful in life. For instance, a person’sability to learn and achieve a good form of education depends on the person’shealth status, either in good or poor health, as this is an important factor indetermining the person’s to cope in learning environment. Additionally, ahealthy population provides an active work force for a nation, with a higherproductivity, savings, and investment. Schultz (1999) and Barro (1996)further argue that better health can reduce thedepreciation of education capital and thus increase the favorable effect of education on growth.
According to World HealthOrganization (WHO) health is the physical, mental and socialwell-being of an individual and not mere absenceof disease or infirmity. This underscores the importance of health to a personand to the nation as a whole in the development process. Prominent among suchpolicies are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in which during the United Nations (UN) Millennium summit, thedeveloping countries and poor nations pledgeto govern better and invest in their people through healthcare and education.
The more advance countries also pledge to support themthrough aid; debt relief and fairer trade options. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) consists eightgoals and that is to be achieved by the year2000, by 189 countriesexemplifying anunprecedented commitment on the path of rich and poor countries to attain improvement in human development by year 2015, withthree of the eight goals focusing on improving health to reducing child andmaternal mortality and incidence of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, and otherpreventable diseases, (Bakari and Dauda, 2009). Similarly, in 2015 the Sustainable DevelopmentGoals (SDG’s) were in place as an offshoot of the MDG’s, with 17 universalgoals, 168 targets, and 230 indicators set by the United Nations to guide arange of pressing problems including food and water security, poverty, andclimate change up to 2030. Health is at the core of the SDG’s with the thirdSDG’s aiming to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at allage”,this focus on Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable DevelopmentGoals have led to critical debate especially on several health related issues.Much of the literature seems to suggest that one means ofachieving improved health outcomes in a nations/region is through the provisionof quality health care services, which requires increased health spending.
In most developingcountries, and specifically in Sub-Saharan African and Asian region,governments mainly provide health care services. Government spending on healthis also justified in its impact on the individual’s lifetime income, through theperson’s ability to