Health has been one of the major challenges in Nigeria especially for women and children. According to UNICEF; every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world. The factors surrounding the sorrow and misery to many of Nigerian families especially at the grassroots level which are as a result of poor health facilities, lack of awareness, lack of basic health care facilities and lack of finance to access the health care centers.
In 2014, Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) signed an agreement to with development Research Project Center (dRPC) as voices of voiceless to advocate for increase in health budget on Partnership for Advocacy Child and Family Health (PACFaH) project sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation using Faith Based Organizations (FBOs both Christian and Muslim), traditional and religious leaders including women’s groups. These listed bodies became FOMWAN-PACFaH state advocacy team (coalition) who to try to penetrate the government for increase health budget.
Before the intervention of FOMWAN-PACFaH project the coalition lacked knowledge on health budget in the various states and what the government is required to do in relation to health budget. They also lacked capacity on communication strategy and advocacy skills. With the intervention of the PACFaH project, they gained the necessary capacity to also work with religious and traditional rulers who have strong influence on the government especially as it relates to the grassroots. One of the beneficiaries who is the Chairperson of Women Wing Christian Association of Nigeria – Mrs. Lydia Attah – in her words said “as a result of this project I now understand that the Christian and Muslim Faith Based Organizations can work together to support the government of Nasarawa State to account for the health budget, timely release and judicious use as we see women and children support from preventable diseases in our communities”