Women groups are crucial partners in Nigeria’s quest for improved routine immunization coverage, family planning and other healthcare delivery challenges. Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Shuaib Faisal stated this when he received the National President of The National Council for Women Societies (NCWS), Dr Laraba Gloria Shoda in his office.
The visit is part of ongoing advocacy engagement organized by the umbrella body of women societies in Nigeria, working with the development Research and Project Centre’s under the Partnership for Advocacy in child and family health At Scale (PACFaH@Scale) project.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib commended the NCWS for the visit, pledging to do everything possible to assist the association in its quest to stamp out polio in the country. He said, “As far as I am concerned, we are partners in progress. We have had a long history of collaboration with the NCWS, from Polio Eradication to Family Planning and so on.”
“So, today is just another vista in our long history of deep collaborations with your organization, but particularly with women in Nigeria, either as an individual or as a platform…I want to assure you that we will continue to work with you at NPHCDA,” Dr Shuaib said. He further said immunization is a right of the child and that a lot needs to be done to ensure that children get needed vaccines. In addition, the Executive Director noted that the observations made by the NCWS through its leaders who had addressed him earlier were being looked into, following increased funding of the agency through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.
“There are number of observations that have been made that relate to the weak primary health care system. We are aware of these challenges as a result of many years of neglect of the primary health care space.
“But in the last two years, Mr. President has approved the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, which is one percent of the consolidated revenue fund towards strengthening primary health care. So, some of the issues that you’ve raised towards inadequate or absence of management tools, inadequate training, inactivation of the village health committees and wards health committees, inadequate and lack of manpower will soon be a thing of the past because the Basic Health Care Provision Fund is targeted at addressing these gaps in the primary health care system.
“I want to assure you, without making any empty promises that we are here to work with you. It’s a good thing that we’ve already established a rapport with the program manager,” he stated.
Earlier, National President, NCWS, Dr. Gloria Laraba Shoda, had said the purpose of the visit was to disseminate the result of the “recently conducted a one-day high-level consultative meeting with 14 CSOs and CSOs networks working on routine immunization (RI) with the executive director.
“Analysis of the post-test administered on this CSOs/CSOs networks showed that a low percentage of women voices are captured in routine immunization advocacy.
Mrs. Laraba Shoda highlighted factors that have boosted primary health care services in the country and issues preventing the nation from being proud of quality primary health care system.
She sought the representation of NCWS in the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC), which the NPHCDA’s boss said he would look into.
She added: “We will be holding a one-day dialogue in November with all the relevant stakeholders of the GAVI transition plan development to discuss the possibilities of increasing domestic resource mobilization post-GAVI, review plan implementation of the GAVI transition of 2018 – 2028 till date and discuss indicators for developing RI scorecards. She expressed that this was a medium to officially invite NPHCDA to provide technical support for this important event.”
Addressing the meeting, Programme Manager, National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre, NERICC, Dr Bassey Okposen, expressed joy over the support from the NCWS.
“I’m very happy that they have outlets in all the 774 LGAs. They are our mothers and they understand the system very well…It happened that we met at a time like this when we are doing many things that require your usual support,” he said.
He explained further that the group would be needed for the success of the NPHCDA’s upcoming routine immunization in northern and southern parts of the country.
NCWS – Nigeria is a non-governmental, non-profit-making, a non-political, non-ethnic and non-religious organization founded in 1958 and incorporated in 1965. It has its branches in the 36 states and also in FCT and chapters in all the 774 local government areas in Nigeria with more than 250 women affiliates.
The group is the umbrella body for women organizations’ in Nigeria and her major role is to coordinate activities of women organizations to achieve their various goals and aspirations.
NCWS in partnership with PAS (NCWS-PAS) is working on routine immunization as an issue area on the PACFaH@Scale project. The PACFaH@Scale project (PAS) is a social accountability project which aims at national and state level to hold decision-makers in the executive and legislature to account to comply with commitments in the child and family health policies, law and financial obligations to bring down regulatory and administrative barriers to effective and efficient service delivery.
Pictures from the advocacy visit to the ED NPHCDA and the NERICC Team by NCWS-PAS