PACFAH Tasks Media to Actively Report Health Issues

The Partnership Advocacy for Child and Family Health, PACFaH, wants journalists in Nigeria to actively report issues surrounding the health budget and finance.

Health Reform Foundation  of Nigeria, HERFON, Programme Officer on PACFaH project,  Ms. Aanu’ Rotimi, told members of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN,  during a symposium in Lagos recently, that regular reports would ensure  deliberations on the health budget are kept on the front burner, and ensure government meets commitments towards adequate funding  of  the health sector.

In her presentation  on the “Role of Media In Advocating For Increased Health Sector Budget in Nigeria” during  a symposium organised by  HEWAN in Lagos, Rotimi stated that the media’s power in  influencing opinions and behavior as well as ability to inspire public interest through creating awareness around respective issues has a great role to play  in ensuring that  government adequately finance  the  healthcare sector.

“Over the years, evidence has shown that media plays a vital role in mobilising people for national development. It is the connection between the people and government. Advocating for improved health outcomes is a role for all stakeholders in which health journalists are critical stakeholders.

“It is interesting to note the interplay of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that determines what good health is all about. Appropriate allocation, prompt release  and value for money utilisation  of health funds are important, and not just mere reduction in MMR, U5MR or IMR,  which although are expected ultimate results, but can be transient till  an assured funding, much more transparent utilisation and ownership are available.”

She urged the media to remind government to honour various commitments on health financing, such as the Abuja Declaration  that stated that 15 per cent of  the country’s annual budget  must be allocated to health, among others. Rotimi argued that challenges of  health finance reporting in Nigeria include “limited investigation on health sector funding , inadequate reporting on the issue of  health finance,  media owner’s philosophy towards health reportage,limited experts among others.

 

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