Category: PACFaH@Scale

Experts Call on Government and Stakeholders to Improve Reproductive Healthcare across the Country

Experts Call on Government and Stakeholders to Improve Reproductive Healthcare across the Country

ABUJA, Nigeria October 12, 2018 –The need to improve service delivery, availability and access to Family Planning (FP), for the majority of women across Nigeria, has once again been reiterated by public sector officials, Academics and Civil Society representatives working in the area of reproductive health and family planning in Nigeria.

This was the consensus at a One-day Leadership Training for Family Planning Focal Persons organised on October 12, 2018, by the Development Research and Projects Center (dRPC), under the PACFAH@Scale program with the aim of strengthening the leadership skills and competencies of participants so that they could champion FP issues and needs within the state system.

Speaking at the event, Greg Izuwa, Deputy Director, Reproductive Division, Federal Ministry of Health noted that scores of Nigerian women of reproductive age clamour for access to FP services but the program’s capacity in the country is highly inadequate to meet their needs, therefore it is imperative for everyone concerned to work together with the government so that these challenges can be mitigated.

“The Nigerian Government has, through the Federal Ministry of Health put in place a policy of free family planning information, services and commodities to family planning clients at public health facilities across the country,” said Mr Izuwa. This will help to address inaccessibility owing to ignorance and poverty mostly experienced by underprivileged Nigerian women. He added that select private health facilities are equally being supported with government’s free commodities to enable them to provide family planning services at very subsidized fees to willing clients.

“There are no systematic studies to determine the policy advocacy inclusions and exclusions in the family planning documents that abound in the public health space in Nigeria,” said Dr Aderibigbe Adedeji, Associate Professor of Public Health, University of Ilorin. He surmised that in order to achieve 27% modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR), there needs to be a thorough interrogation of existing policies in order to map how they can better address the needs of the people.

According to Joyce Ahmadu, a gender expert who spoke at the event, “there is need to propose policy actions to strengthen gender integration in future policy development processes” She identified that due to the gender specificity of family planning, government should explore gender-focused research and analysis of norms that affect health-seeking behaviours and health outcomes of women/girls and men/boys in order to arrive at effective interventions targeted at the specific issues. She said this is in response to the identification of gender gaps which came up during an assessment of policies and documents on child and family health in Nigeria.

She, therefore, recommended that policymakers should develop and include gender-sensitive results and indicators to guide the monitoring and evaluation of gender equality, disaggregate gender data at all levels and budget line for gender-related interventions as well as engage stakeholder from the government, CSO and INGOs with gender expertise in the policy development process.

NNNGO-PAS’s Program Officer, Ayo Adebusoye, one of the participants noted: “The conference helped to shape the thoughts and actions of CSO representatives who participated such that we now understand how best to leverage on our individual strengths while working together as a team in order to achieve optimal results”. He concluded that learning to work in synergy with other FP champions within the state and across the country is key to achieving family planning targets.

Reviewing the Costed Implementation Plan for Routine Immunization in Lagos State.

Reviewing the Costed Implementation Plan for Routine Immunization in Lagos State.

LAGOS, Nigeria –/ A fully immunized child is one who has received the complete doses of the standard six antigens – BCG, Diphtheria Tetanus Pertussis (DTP) (3 doses), polio (3 doses), and measles vaccines. Globally, there are about 19.5million un/under-immunized children with 18% of them live in Nigeria.

A survey conducted in 2017 using a Multi Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) showed that only about 23% of children in Nigeria were fully immunized in the last one year leaving 77% not fully immunized. In addition, statistics from the National Immunization Coverage Survey (NICS) 2017 for Lagos State showed that 68% of children aged 12-23 months received full immunization. This implies that although RI coverage in Lagos is impressive, there is still a lot more work to be done to achieve 100% coverage with the intention of leaving no child behind.

Understanding the critical role civil society organisations can play in attaining the 100% coverage goal for RI in Lagos State, NNNGO-PAS, following up on a civil society mapping exercise in March 2018, organised a strategy meeting with the Lagos State Accountability Mechanism (LASAM) on Friday 21, 2018 to review the costed implementation work plan for RI in Lagos State and to identify areas for advocacy. Organising a strategy meeting at this time was therefore not simply timely, but key to ensuring effective implementation of the RI costed implementation plan in Lagos state especially as governments begin preparations for 2019 RI year.

“We must begin to articulate more focused areas of advocacy that would improve RI funding and coverage in Lagos State now and in the coming year-2019” said Oyebisi, B. Oluseyi, NNNGO-PAS Program Director, who noted that part of the objectives of the meeting was to engage meaningfully with government and other critical stakeholders through a technical review of the costed implementation plan for RI in Lagos State, new domestic funding schemes and conduct feasibility updates on same.

Ayo Adebusoye, NNNGO-PAS Programs Officer further explained that the meeting also aimed at identifying capacity gaps amongst accountability mechanisms in the State, setting the foundation for addressing identified gaps with a view to strengthening and amplifying civil society’s voice on RI issues.

As with many other states in the country, issues of inadequate financing for routine immunization and untimely releases is playing out strongly in Lagos, a State that prides itself as a centre of excellence. History proves that these issues have plagued reproductive health for a long time. A report released by InfoGuide Nigeria in May 2018, noted that “vaccines have always been problematic for Nigeria primarily because funds are insufficient or were not released on time”.

The aforementioned roadblocks to RI service provision and delivery are compounded by inadequate cold chain infrastructure, weak preventive maintenance system of cold chain systems leading to rapid and continuous breakdown, inadequate supportive supervision, weak monitoring and lack of data for action as well as the slow integration of private providers in RI service delivery.

Needless to say, there is an urgent need to intensify advocacy for a sustained increase in allocation to RI and timely release of such funds. Specifically, critical stakeholders must begin to tackle these issues by ensuring that governments fulfil their commitments to RI with emphasis on adequate funding.

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NNNGO-PAS Project Director Oyebisi urges improved release of funding for family planning and routine immunization

NNNGO-PAS Project Director Oyebisi urges improved release of funding for family planning and routine immunization

Oyebisi made the statement while delivering a keynote speech at the second Lagos State SDGs Summit with over 200 leading representatives of government, civil society, private sector and the media in Lagos.

Lagos, Nigeria, September 20, 2018/ — NNNGO-PACFAH@Scale Project Director, Oluseyi Oyebisi on Thursday urged governments at the State and Local Government level to seize opportunities for a healthy population by improving on the release of funding for family planning (FP) and routine immunization (RI) in Lagos State. Oyebisi made this statement while delivering a keynote speech at the second Lagos State Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit with over 200 leading representatives of government, civil society, private sector and the media in Lagos.

Speaking on the projects findings at the summit which had in attendance the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo, Oyebisi said: “from our work we have seen an increase in budget allocations to FP and RI in the 2018 budget and if we have more funds for our primary health care centers (PHC’s) to effectively deliver FP and RI services, we will see an increase to the uptake of family planning in the State”.

“Honourable Commissioner, as I prepare for my presentation at this summit, I reviewed the score card developed by NNNGO-PAS on FP financing at the 41 local government areas of Lagos State. We have seen commitment to family planning in the health budget for the State and I applaud you for that. Here you can see how funds are released to PHC’s and how little these funds are. We see between 3000 and 25,000 Naira given to PHC’s monthly to buy FP consumables albeit irregular.

An improved use of family planning services can help achieve our global goals objectives with results seen in the areas of unintended pregnancies, a cut in maternal and child deaths–giving women more control over their lives and the chance to work.

L-R: Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Oluseyi Oyebisi, Hon. Olusegun Banjo and Dr. Paul Abolo
L-R: Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Oluseyi Oyebisi, Hon. Olusegun Banjo and Dr. Paul Abolo

Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Working Team Private Sector Advisory Group on SDGs Nigeria and Mories Atoki. – SM Sustainability, SDGs & Climate Change Pricewaterhousecoopers Inc were among panelists discussing multi-stakeholder approaches to attaining the SDGs at the event.

Addressing participants, Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo explained that the Lagos State Government is willing to partner with civil society organisations and the private sector in attaining the SDGs in Lagos State and “stands ready to receive feedback from all stakeholders on how to improve and prioritise development in the State”.

Oyebisi who is leading the Nigeria Network of NGOs /Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family at Scale, PACFaH@Scale, (PAS) a social accountability project aimed at ensuring improved financial commitment to FP and RI in Lagos State also met with a section of nonprofits at the event to discuss the PAS project.