Family planning: Lagos Coalition Pays Advocacy Visit to State MoH

 

Background
The Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH@Scale) main focus in Lagos State is to advocate for increased allocation of fund and related resources to family health in the State. There are four issue areas in the project:

  • Childhood killer diseases (use of zinc ORS and Amoxicillin DT for treatment of pneumonia and diarrhea);
  • Family planning;
  • Routine immunisation;
  • Primary healthcare under one roof (PHCUOR)

However, the current work plan of all the implementing partners in the State centres around two out of the four issue areas:

  • Family planning;
  • Routine immunisation;

Objectives of the Visit
The visit conducted on Tuesday, 30 July 2019 to the MoH, Lagos State aimed to actualise three objectives:

  • Highlight the areas the State has performed well in the last few years;
  • Point out the challenges the Lagos State Government is yet to address adequately with respect to family health;
  • Advocate to the State Government for increased fund allocation to health in the State annual budget, especially with respect to family planning and routine immunisation.

The Advocacy Target
In view of the fact that the Lagos State Government is yet to appoint a new Commissioner for Health, the Tuesday, 30 July 2019 visit targeted the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, in the person of Dr. (Mrs) Titilayo Goncalves.

The Advocacy Team
Representatives of four implementing partners working in Lagos State were involved in the visit to the MoH, coordinated by Dr. Onipede Wusu. The team consisted of the following representatives:
1. General (Dr) ‘Shina Ogunbiyi (Project Director of AANI)
2. Commrade Abdulraaman M. Babatunde (Administrative Officer of AANI)
3. Dr. (Mrs) Bamidele Bello (Project Director of AHEAD)
4. Dr. (Mrs) Halima Egberongbe (Lagos FOMWAN focal person)
5. Dr. Ajagun Ogunleye (Member of FOMWAN)
6. Miss Odunayo Oti (Staff of Batta-Box)
7. Mr. Ogunnaike Olukayode (Staff of Batta-Box)

Note: Batta-Box CEO, Yemisi Ilo, came but could not access the fourth floor owing to the fact that the MoH lift system was not working.
The Meeting
The visit to the MoH was quite impactful. Major General (Dr) Shina Ogunbiyi read the speech on behalf of the advocacy team to the Permanent Secretary, other Ministry Officers and gentlemen of the press. The speech highlighted the areas that Lagos State Government performed well in the last year as reflected by the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey.

However, the speaker clearly pointed out that Lagos State 9% allocation to health in the last budget was not good enough and that only 23% of the 9% released was below expectation. A loud call for increased allocation of fund and full release was also made.

Also, Dr. Ogunbiyi promised that the PACFaH@Scale project is in the State to execute interventions such as providing training for staffers of the Ministry and the Primary Health Care Centres.

The PS reacted and promised improvement in subsequent budgets on behalf of the State Government. She also welcome the PACFaH@Scale project into the State, that the areas of intervention of the project were timely.

Furthermore, the team requested the PS to initiate the process of asking the Governor to make an Executive Order to remove the barrier posted by the age of consent to young people accessing family planning services. To this the PS promised to get back to us in due course.

Outcomes
Important outcomes of the visit was that the advocacy team was able to impress upon the PS, Lagos State MoH the following:

  • The focus of the PACFaH@Scale in Lagos State was understood by the MoH;
  • Highlight the areas the state has performed well;
  • The need to allocate and release more fund to health in the state
  • and got promise that the MoH would act on the Executive Order to enhance young people accessing family planning services

Recommendations
The following may be considered by the PAS project in Lagos State:

  • a repeat of the visit to the MoH to press for increased funding to health in the budget;
  • we have to conduct advocacy visit to Ministry of Budget and Planning to demand for increased funding to health, in particular FP and RI;
  • we have to visit the Ministry of Finance to make similar request and press for release of fund allocated to health;
  • we have to visit the Governor and House of Assembly Committee for health to advocate for increased funding to health and press for the executive order/legislation to address the age of consent barrier to young people accessing FP services.
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