Taraba State, located in the northeastern Nigeria, is one of the 36 States that make up the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It was carved out of the defunct Gongola State on the 27th of August, 1991. The remaining part of the then Gongola State was renamed Adamawa State.
The projected population of Taraba State is 3 million people. The population of women of childbearing age group is 151,758 (National Population Census). It has a low Contraceptive Prevalence Rate of 7%.
Family Planning Services
The Taraba State Ministry of Health is an offshoot of the Gongola State Ministry of Health. In the same vein, Family Planning services in Taraba State took its root from the Family Planning services of the defunct Gongola State. Family Planning Services in the State was initially supported by UNFPA. Until recently (2019), the State government has never really given Family Planning the desired attention in its annual budgets. Family Planning had always been considered an integral part of Reproductive Health, and funds were generally appropriated for disbursement under Reproductive Health Services (including Family Planning Services). However, three years ago, a paltry sum of money from the Reproductive Health budget was released for the transportation of Family Planning commodities in the State, which was the first time Family Planning Services received funding from the State Government.
Donor Agencies Collaborating With the State Government in FP Services
A noteworthy development in recent times, however, is the contribution of donor agencies to the Taraba State Government in the area of Family Planning services. In the last three years Marie Stopes Nigeria has been supporting Taraba State in the area of Family Planning services. The Challenge Initiative (TCI), another NGO also came in about a year ago to assist Taraba State in the area of Family Planning Services. It has been collaborating very well with the State Ministry of Health in that regard. In addition, the Women and Children Health Empowerment Foundation (WACHEF) through Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH@Scale) with support from development Research and Projects Center (dRPC), also came in towards the end of 2018 to collaborate and assist the government and people of Taraba State in the area of Family Planning Services. It guided the State to implement its model of Expanded Family Planning Services in Jalingo and Takum Local Government Areas as a pilot scheme. In this model, all previous avenues of providing Family Planning Services are maintained while Community Pharmacists and Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors, who have their Health Facilities well distributed across the State, are trained and included amongst the cadre of health care providers to render Family Planning Services to the populace.
Formation of Advocacy Core Group/Creation of Budget Line for Family Planning Services in the 2019 Fiscal Year
There is no gain saying the fact that the Taraba State Government had never had a budget line specially created for the implementation of its Family Planning Services. It took the intervention of TCI to form the Advocacy Core Group on Family Planning that is spearheading the advocacy for the creation of a budget line for Family Planning Services in the State. The Advocacy Core Group has as its members the Director of Hospital Services in the State Ministry of Health, a representative from TCI and a representative from WACHEF among other members who make up the group. The group worked assiduously towards the last quarter of last year (2018) to make sure that a budget line was created for Family Planning Services in the 2019 Annual Budget. They paid advocacy visits to the Permanent Secretary Taraba State Ministry of Health, the Chairman State Planning Commission and the State Director of Budget to secure the budget line in the 2019 advanced proposal submitted by the State Government towards the end of 2018. Luckily, the budget estimates submitted by the State Government to the State House of Assembly included a budget line for Family Planning Services. That budget has been passed by the State House of Assembly and has been signed into law. The sum of N30 million has been appropriated for Family Planning services for the 2019 fiscal year in Taraba State. Despite the good news, no releases have so far been made under that Subhead for disbursement to the relevant MDAs for Family Planning activities. This is to say that the Advocacy Core Group still has the onerous task of following up the relevant government bodies to ensure that releases are made from the budgeted funds to the relevant organs of government as and when due.
At a separate advocacy visit by WACHEF to the Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Ministry of Health, Dr Musa Obadiah, on the 29th of January 2019, he informed WACHEF authoritatively that the sum of N30 million has been appropriated by the State Government for Family Planning services for this fiscal year.