2017: National Assembly and the Pending Priority Issues

By Abubakar Jimoh

As the National Assembly resumes legislative activities for the New Year, it becomes paramount to draw attention of the legislators to pending and important issues that will shape the nation’s socio-economic development such as Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill, openness and transparency in the 2017 Appropriation Bill, Constitutional and Electoral Reforms, constituency accountability, sustainable security, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and Open Government Partnership.

Petroleum Industry Governance and Institutional Framework Bill 2015

The hostile nature of the existing law governing the oil and gas sector in the country led to reforms that culminated in preparation of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in 2008. The non-passage of the Bill about a decade after was due to many identified factors.

Meanwhile, the presentation of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) 2016 on the floor of the Senate on 13th April, 2016 presented new opportunities for the Bill to be passed. It is different from previous versions of the PIB in many ways.

If passed into law, the new Bill will provide appropriate legal and regulatory framework particularly important for optimal performance of the oil and gas sector. It will pave way for efficient and effective governing institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry; establish a framework for the creation of commercially oriented and profit driven petroleum entities that ensures value addition and internationalization of the petroleum industry; promote transparency and accountability in the administration of the petroleum resources of Nigeria; and foster a conducive business environment for petroleum industry operations.

The Bill will ensure competitive, open, non-discretionary licensing and tender processes; promote independent regulator insulated from political interference; eliminate discretionary powers to the President and Minister of Petroleum; establish Petroleum Host Community Fund to be used for the development of economic and social infrastructure of the communities within the oil producing areas; address the lingering challenge of gas flaring, environmental protection, remediation and restoration.

In December 2016, the Bill was subjected to a Public Hearing in which the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and her partners actively participated. To achieve transparency, accountability and significant growth in the oil and gas sector, the legislators must fast-track passage of the Bill.

2017 Appropriation Bill

Encouraging thorough, open, and constructive process in the passage of the 2017 Appropriation Bill is essential to win citizens’ confidence in the legislators. Legislative openness in the Appropriation process entails transparent, inclusive and participatory process to reflect the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.

Legislative openness strengthens relationship between the people and the legislature and provides a means for the people to participate in the legislative activities. Legislative authority is exercised and upheld by legitimacy. The legitimacy is guaranteed by strong trust reposed on the legislature by the people. Strong trust in this case, cannot be achieved without adequate democratic process to allow for effective participation by citizens at all levels.

Legislative openness is increasingly recognized for its crucial role in making appropriation information more accessible to citizens, strengthening the capacity of citizens to participate in the process, improving legislative accountability, and increasing collaborative dialogue among the legislators on issues affecting Appropriation Bill.

It is evident across the globe that citizens’ participation in budgetary process can help governments to be more accountable and responsive, improve the people’s perception of budgetary performance and democratic dividend.

While endemic socio-economic problems as well as poor budgetary and economic policies implementation result in wasteful spending, misplaced priority and mismanagement of capital projects in various parts of the country, citizens’ participation in the appropriation process allows for effective monitoring of budget implementation, encourages accountability of public funds, and ameliorates mismanagement.

Observing the impacts of citizens’ participation in budgetary process, Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) in United States, has noted that the process allows the citizens to directly decide how to spend part of a public budget, and enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives. The process which was first introduced in Brazil in 1989 has been adopted by over 1,500 cities across world. This has helped Brazil in decentralization and participatory budgeting, leading to appreciable shift in more resources to the grassroots, and increased local revenue.

In a study titled ‘Our money, Our responsibility: A Citizens’ Guide to Monitoring Government Expenditures’, Vivek Ramkumar observes that if a government makes an honest effort to implement the budget as it is appropriated, important questions often remain about the specifics of spending. In this case, by engaging with the budget throughout its appropriation and implementation, civil society can identify lapses and make appropriate advocacy interventions.

In a trend towards participatory budget process, the legislators must activate the existing commitments for allowing citizens input into the appropriation process so that it can reflects their aspirations. They must ensure the budget process and passage is timely, devoid of scandals and undue distractions. The legislators should ensure that through the appropriation process and related legislation, commitment to addressing the recession is clearly demonstrated.

More importantly, to ensure openness, citizens’ participation must be encouraged through physical access to the legislature. All citizens irrespective of their social, economic, political and ethno-religion backgrounds should be allowed access to the legislature.

Constitutional and Electoral Reforms

Electoral process in Nigeria is knowingly characterized by violence of various kinds, which manifest in killings, maiming of lives, and destruction property worth millions of naira. It is on this note that both local and international empirical investigations contend that electoral violence presents greatest obstacle to democratic consolidation in Nigeria. The recurrence nature of electoral violence since 1999 has assumed greater magnitude leading to instability in democratic consolidation as well as the loss and displacement of many innocent lives

Several underlining factors such as money politics, ethno-religion sentiments, unguided utterances and hate speeches, rigged elections, irregularities, malpractice, fraud monitoring in electoral processes, extrajudicial killings, among others have been identified to metamorphose into electoral violence.

The reported death before, during and after the elections is worrisome. For instance, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) estimated no fewer than 58 people killed in election-related violence in 22 states from Dec. 3, 2014 to February 13, 2015. Also, Rivers Commission of Inquiry revealed that out of the 97 allegations of killings it received, 94 of them occurred between November 15, 2014, and April 11, 2015. A total of 275 different violations involving killings, injuries to persons or destruction were reported to the Inquiry.

Similarly another report by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) records revealed no fewer than 66 reports of violent incidents targeted at polling, the Commission’s officials, voters and election materials in the 2015 general elections. These were in Rivers State (16), Ondo (8), Cross River and Ebonyi (6 each), Akwa Ibom (5), Bayelsa (4), Lagos and Kaduna (3 each), Jigawa, Enugu, Ekiti and Osun (2 each), Katsina, Plateau, Kogi, Abia, Imo, Kano and Ogun (1 each).

While studies have traced electoral violence to the rascal politics engaged by the political elites, the violence emanates from both intra-party and inter-party settings. Apart from the fact that electoral violence affects the credibility of the electoral system, other essential elements like the democratic system and the rule of law, the nature, extent and magnitude of violence and rigging associated with elections in Nigeria had assumed alarming proportions calling for immediate holistic legal intervention and political will to  stem the tide.

Money politics is another lingering challenge threatening peaceful electoral process and democratic culture in Nigeria. Political financing has become a profitable investment in the country. Despite the limits to campaign donations as stipulated by the Electoral Act, in 2015 general elections, there was no control of electoral spending, as billions of naira were expended on political campaign adverts, luring traditional leaders and political road shows.

The legislators should identify key laws and priority areas for reforms to empower INEC and relevant electoral bodies to deal with perpetrators of serious offences in the electoral process, and ensure a level playing ground for competitive elections and guarantees for all democratic rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution.

Also, the ongoing review of the 1999 Constitution should be fast-tracked to address emerging issues affecting Exclusive and Concurrent Legislative Lists for timely growth and development of the country. This will ensure issues related to Immunity Clauses, Devolution of Powers, Local Government Autonomy and financial independence of States Houses of Assembly and Residency Rights and the issues resulting in Statelessness are critically examined and addressed.

It would be recalled that the Assembly, in its legislative agenda, had pledged to deliver on the amendments within the shortest possible time.

Constituency accountability

As democracy’s credibility and sustainability depends, to a large extent, on effective citizens’ participation, and on what it delivers, the quality of democratic politics diminishes if citizens are ignorant about their representatives.

While the concept of legislature legitimacy implies that citizens have some knowledge of their legislative institution and a certain level of support for it, the exercise of democratic control over the legislative system and the policy-making process, in the words of   Baker et. al, cannot occur unless the public has an elementary understanding of the national legislative institution and its membership.

Meanwhile, the workability of democracy, in the analysis of National Democratic Institute (NDI), requires informed and active citizens who understand how to voice their interests, act collectively and hold public officials accountable. Citizens have the responsibility to understand the basis of citizenship, politics and government as well as knowledge to make good policy choices and proper use of authority. It is on this process that citizens can exercise their rights without unreasonable resistance or harassment from authorities or others.

The channel through which citizens access their legislature has been through their elected representatives. In Nigeria, where the electorate is geographically divided into constituencies with members representing a specific locality, such access is expected to be typically facilitated by face-to-face contact or through constituency office.

To strengthen its relation with the constituency, while legislature must be available and accessible to the public, a legislator must report back to the constituents on what is happening in Assembly.  A good legislator must create a functional Constituency Office and maintain constant visit to his or her constituency to establish workable relationship with the constituents for constant consultation and as a feedback mechanism for proper representation. Through Constituency Office, members of the public can approach elected legislators and make constructive input in legislative process as it affect them. The services available at the constituency office must be available equally to all members of the public.

In the words of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), a Constituency Office provides a key point of contact for electors with their representative and local staff. In view of its importance, legislators initiate wide-ranging programmes to ensure effective operationalization of their Constituency Offices, where members are available to see their constituents.

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) finds it paramount that members should experience their constituents’ concerns and problems at first hand, and not just rely on second-hand reports when assessing the impact of legislation.

One-to-one and one-to-many communications between individual legislators and their constituents remain important elements of direct communication between a legislature and the public. Communications between legislators and citizens in the constituencies help lawmakers make appropriate decisions about legislation and public policy issues, and provide enabling platform for the expression of public views and opinions.

The legislators as representatives of the people must strengthen their working relationship with their respective constituencies for constructive information and contributions to inform qualitative and citizens-led legislative process.

Security sector

In recent times, the spate of insecurity in Nigeria arising from bomb blasts, assassinations, kidnappings, communal clashes has become order of the day. It is worrisome that communities are persistently invaded and innocent lives are lost to dreadful attacks launched by individuals or group.

It is no more news in the country that some political and socio-economic saboteurs and other enemies of social integration in most occasions take advantage of the existing instability to fuel precarious attacks on innocent citizens, primarily for their selfish and unpatriotic interest.

The increasing rate of insecurity in some parts of Nigeria is a clear indication that security of lives and property is by far eluding the citizens on a daily bases. It is glaring that the rate of insecurity is rooted from diverse and complex phenomena ranging from socio-economic, political and ethno-cultural disagreements to criminal activities across the country. The situation has exposed the executive, legislative, judiciary, government officials, traditional rulers, their subjects, and family members to all manners of threats.

Encouraging social cohesion among various groups in the country with key interests in national socio-political development is paramount to combat insecurity. Each constituent part of the country should be involved in the national socio-political and economic decisions. This will not only help to install the years of lost confidence in leaderships, but also to achieve national socio-political stability.

Workable efforts must be made to stop violence and proliferation of small arms and ammunitions across the country. This has long contributed to the intensifying rate of insecurity.

Due care and calculated thoughts must be exercised in government’s response to armed violence; since various attempts to tackle conflicts in forceful manner have provoked an escalation of violence generating hefty support for armed groups and strengthening the positions of militants in Nigeria.

The National Assembly should intensify its oversight on security sector to complement and sustain the nation’s recent achievements at combating insecurity and prioritise security as a crucial issue to attain desired political and socio-economic growth and development at all levels.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

The recurring nature of numerous internal conflicts and natural disasters in Nigeria have rendered thousands homeless without means of livelihood to suffer a lot of depravity and other forms of hardship including loss of income from inability to work in places where they are relocated as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the country.

The vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant women and the aged are persistently kept under trees and in uncompleted houses and left uncared for; as against the African Union Internally Displaced Persons Convention, which sets out the obligation of member states (including Nigeria) to protect and assist IDPs in meeting their basic needs.

Lack of legislation to address the plights of over 2million IDPs in the North East and other parts of the country is appalling.

A National Summit organized organized by CISLAC in collaboration with National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs in 2015 to commemorate the World Humanitarian Day on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) freshened critically reflection on the need for adoption and implementation of African Union Convention on Internally Displaced Persons.

The Summit observed and lamented absence of frameworks to provide holistic approach in supporting IDPs’ search for durable solutions, and in preparing for and preventing future displacement. It reiterated the importance of national responsibility to ensuring an effective approach to internal displacement, calling for prompt domestication and implementation of Kampala Convention on IDPs in Nigeria.

In April 2015, a joint assessment by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) identified no fewer than 1,538,982 registered IDPs in the states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Plateau, Nasarawa, Abuja (Federal Capital Territory), Kano and Kaduna.

It would be recalled that on 6 December 2012, the African Union (AU) celebrated the entry into force of the AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention. The Convention was endorsed in 2009 at an AU Special Summit in Kampala, Uganda and signed by 31 of the 53 member states of the African Union including Nigeria.

The Convention aims to mitigate the causes of displacement, including through establishing early warning systems and taking measures to reduce disaster risks. It also sets out the obligation of states to protect and assist internally displaced persons “by meeting their basic needs as well as allowing and facilitating rapid and unimpeded access by humanitarian organizations and personnel” and to ensure durable solutions.

It establishes that member states that are not in a position to meet the humanitarian needs of IDPs are expected to seek out and facilitate international assistance. The Convention also provides that humanitarian organizations must abide by humanitarian principles, international standards and codes of conduct.

In addition to access to humanitarian assistance, the Convention sets out a comprehensive set of protection issues, such as non-discrimination, freedom of movement and sexual and gender based violence, and obliges States Parties to take measures ensuring the protection of IDPs in these respects.

It has become imperative for the National Assembly to expedite action in the domestication of the Kampala Convention and reviewing the Act setting up the National Commission for Refugees.

Open Government Partnership

The National Assembly should ensure legislation that will facilitate the country’s ability to keep to her commitments to the international community are revisited and addressed. The National Action Plan for the implementation of the Open Government Partnership that seeks to pursue open governance and the Roadmap to implement Beneficial Ownership under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative are clear examples of this.

Trump’s aid cuts, a setback to humanitarian supports in Africa

By Abubakar Jimoh

Recently, the humanitarian world was thrown in a sober reflection by a shocking but unpleasant development arising from President of the United States, Donald Trump’s financial decision to cut-down global aid spending by 32 percent as contains in the proposed budget plans for the Fiscal Year 2018.

The decision which was thankfully subjected to extensive criticism by both Republicans and Democrats in the legislature was as well instantly denounced by a global movement—ONE Campaign, which through its works on good governance across globe including Africa has been able to ascertain the detrimental impacts such proposed plans will pose to the existing efforts at successfully combating poverty, diseases and marginalisation, and boosting social investments, especially in Africa.

While the fundamental purpose of humanitarian aid by any government is to complement the efforts of a receiving nation at revitalising her social sector as well as uplifting the poor from extreme poverty, which renders them incapacitated to attain self-reliance and effectively fight diseases, the on-going financial decision by President Trump, if not instantly addressed and reversed will, without doubt result in counter-productivity to the United States’ tracked and commendable records in supporting and sustaining enabling environment for political and socio-economic stability, particularly in Africa.

As a continent with emerging democracies and pervasive inadequate funding for social sector, experiences have revealed that most African governments rely on international aids, which are largely secured from United States through various counterpart-funding agreements to augment their budgets for social sector. A good example is the recent tripartite agreements among some Nigerian state governments, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Dangote Foundation to sustain the fight against dreaded polio virus, which was prevalent in northern part of the country owing to lack of funding for the procurement and administration of vaccines.

Meanwhile, working alongside the aforementioned donors, Global Alliance for Vaccine (GAVI) has been supporting African governments in routine immunisation through procurement and donation of polio vaccines, leading to a major success in the fight against polio virus in various parts of Africa including Nigeria

It is noteworthy to highlight that GAVI receives 79% of its funding from contributions by governments with United States as a key donor significantly contributing no fewer than 9.2% amounting to US$ 800.0 million as at March 2017 that according to GAVI, “will greatly enhance Gavi’s capacity to purchase and deliver life-saving vaccines for children and help in immunizing millions of children in developing countries against vaccine-preventable diseases, which claim 1.5 million lives every year”. The contribution as disclosed in an acknowledgment by GAVI was part of the US$ 814.5 million approved for USAID’s Maternal and Child Health programs for 2017.

Apart from direct financial aid to the governments, the sincere efforts of other agency like USAID has been recognised and widely acknowledged most especially in promoting good governance through its project and activity labelled “Strengthening Advocacy and Civil Engagement” (SACE), which has helped to increase the capacity of citizens across the continent to be more involved in democratic reform processes by influencing institutions whose function are to serve public interests.

Not only have funds from USAID assisted in enhancing participation of marginalized populations — such as women, youth, and the disabled — and emphasizing the importance of leadership and innovation, the agency is famous in addressing developmental challenges in Nigeria by promoting political and socio-economic stability through improved social services, transparent and responsive government, and humanitarian assistance to the crises affected zone like North Eastern part of the country.

In 2011, a report entitled “U.S. Foreign Assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa: The FY2012 Request” published by Congressional Research Service, reveals a total bilateral U.S. development assistance from USAID and the State Department to sub-Saharan Africa amounting to an estimated $7.08 billion in 2012 as against $1.94 billion in 2002 Financial Year. The rapid increase in development assistance which was later explained in another corresponding report titled “Overview of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)” by Center for Global Development, was largely driven by global health spending, which concentrates on resources to combat the fast spreading HIV/AIDS primarily to 14 countries, 12 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Consequently, another major success has been recorded in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the region. An instance is Nigeria which in a 2016 report entitled “Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases: Where we are” published by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was applauded for the falling trend in HIV/AIDS satisfying the criteria for the attainment of Goal 6 of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Similarly, while HIV and AIDS have had a significant negative impact on life expectancy in South Africa, leaving many families and children economically vulnerable and often socially stigmatized, it has received the largest Anti-Retroviral Therapy programme in the world through the effort of United States PEPFAR and has contributed towards stabilizing HIV prevalence in Africa. This fact was buttressed in another study by the Science Desk of National Public Radio (NPR) that “PEPFAR, really, has saved a huge number of people’s lives. This has been one of the most effective public health inventions outside of clean running water, decent nutrition and vaccine programs. This has made an unbelievable difference”.

Moreover, of $48 billion to PEPFAR in 2008, $500 million was allocated to fight HIV/AIDS in Kenya. In fact, single biggest change for public health in Kenya was according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Kenya, achieved by the founding of PEPFAR.

It is also important to mention that in 2013, following a political crisis that claimed tens of thousands of South Sudanese lives and left about 4 million displaced, USAID had charted a strategy that increased humanitarian assistance and support for fundamental needs including access to water, health and education services. With continued support through direct service delivery and technical assistance, the agency has helped in saving South Sudan from deteriorating into famine conditions in addition to significant progress recorded in the quality, coverage, and impact of the national HIV/AIDS response.

Additionally, these facts were reiterated and highlighted when in Fiscal Year 2015 report, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) could not conceal but to state that through available funds, USAID sustained provision of critical, life-saving assistance in response to conflict and displacement in South Sudan and Sudan’s Darfur Region; met conflict-related needs in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia; provided nutrition assistance in Kenya; and supported flood-affected communities in Madagascar, Malawi, and Mozambique.

The opposite of this backdrop is a clear indication of horrific conditions Africans will be subjected should President Trump get his proposed plans passed. We therefore call for a rethink on the proposed financial plans by President Trump.

 

Passage of PIGB: CISLAC lauds Nigerian Senate

By Abubakar Jimoh

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has commended the giant legislative stride by Upper Chamber of the National Assembly that resulted in recent passage of the long awaited Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB), after over twelve years in different legislative sessions of the Assembly.

The Centre made this known in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani).

The statement said passage of the PIGB formed a major campaign promise of the present administration to be delivered; the commitment which was reiterated in the Federal Government’s Short and Medium Term Priorities to grow Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Industry 2015–2019, fancifully labelled the “7 Big Wins” with a time lapse at the first quarter of 2017.

“We note that the  Bill as passed reflected many of the proposals put forward by civil society, including CISLAC and her partners during the Public Hearing session held on the Bill, especially the unbundling of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to separate her commercial role from her regulatory functions, among others.

“It would be recalled that CISLAC had reservations about the splitting of the Bill initially because of the possibility that the other components may never be attended to and uses the this opportunity to remind the National Assembly that the Bill has left out fiscal issues which remain the most important aspect of the old PIB,” it noted.

It however, urged Senate to immediately commence work on the outstanding parts on which the passed Bill is silent as it had promised, as it is the only way to demonstrate trustworthiness and sustain confidence of Nigerian people.

The statement also called on the House of Representatives to as a matter of urgency, consider the Bill or adopt the Senate version to conclude the legislative process for onwards assent by the President.

“We call on the President to promptly assent to the Bills, whenever they are transmitted to him, after legislative process, as we believe the Bill if implemented will provide appropriate legal and regulatory framework in the oil and gas sector, it added.

Delayed appointments and the policy implications

By Abubakar Jimoh

The continued reluctance exhibited by the executive and legislative arms towards confirmation of some key appointments and re-appointments in the country remains a major concern that if not promptly addressed will frustrate the good efforts and resources hitherto committed to the fulfilment of the present administration’s promises and mandates.

It is worrisome that half way and two years remaining for the administration to complete its first tenure and probably seek re-election, several appointments germane to the fulfilment of the promises made during electioneering campaigns and critical to the attainment of change mantra are yet to be announced.

Even amongst those announced, there are so many still awaiting Senate confirmation, while some are yet to be tabled before the Senate. This unwholesome development if not immediately arrested would negatively impact on the popularly and globally-acclaimed mandate of the Buhari Administration and militate against the delivery of its much-touted vision and objectives.

While the role of shopping and appointing the right candidates to fill various positions is an integral part of the executive’s mandates to coordinate policy direction and translate its agenda into impactful reality, the Nigerian Senate is constitutionally empowered for confirmation of Federal Executive appointments.

It would be recalled that in October 2015, following a public outcry condemning the delayed ministerial appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari, the need to restructure the Federal Government ministries and to effect his party’s mantra of change in government processes and operations were given to account for the delay in sending names of ministerial nominees to the Senate.

Following the appointment of Ministers into various ministries, one would wonder why the Presidency drags its foot from effecting new and renewed appointments in some departments and agencies through legislative endorsement.

The recent outright and persistent rejection of some appointments sent to the Nigerian Senate for confirmation by the Presidency not only backpedals the on-going executive’s efforts at shopping for right candidates into the right positions, but also a clear indication of unhealthy executive-legislative relation, which has serious implications on our nation’s political stability, democratic and governance process.

Among the key appointments awaiting confirmation by the Senate includes the Chairman, Director General and Members of Pension Commission, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the embattled Director General, Lottery Regulatory Commission, the reappointment of Chairman, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Engr. Elias Mbam announced nearly a year ago but who is yet to assume duty following the inability of the Presidency to submit his name to the Senate for confirmation.

It is worthy to note that more vacancies are waiting to be filled in strategic Constitutional bodies like INEC where 37 slots of States Electoral Commissioners are still vacant, the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Character Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Federal Character Commission amongst numerous others. Most of these agencies of government play stabilizing roles in the political economy and continued existence of Nigeria.

Giving the above essential responsibilities, immediate attention to the confirmation of leadership and membership of such key institutions becomes imperative to ensure accelerated delivery of the present administration’s agenda.

Jimoh writes from AMAC Estate, Airport Road, Abuja

Jigawa: Frequent complications from pregnancy, childbirth major causes of maternal mortality

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE-DAY LEGISLATIVE AND MEDIA DIALOGUE ON MATERNAL HEALTH ORGANIZED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) WITH SUPPORT FROM THE MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, HELD AT ROYAL HOTEL, DUTSE JIGAWA STATE ON 18TH MAY, 2017.

PREAMBLE:

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a One-day Legislative and Media Dialogue on Maternal Health. The Dialogue aimed at bringing Jigawa State’s legislature and the media under one roof to brainstorm on necessary legislative action to address current maternal health funding challenges in the state for effective, efficient and affordable maternal and child healthcare delivery in the state. The meeting drew over 20 participants representing State House of Assembly and the Media. After exhaustive deliberations on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:

Observations:

  1. The Jigawa State House of Assembly has fully mainstreamed the state’s Civil Society Group participation in legislative processes.
  2. The State House of Assembly has embarked on persistent community outreach as monitoring and evaluation process to harmonise feedback on communities’ perspectives on the implementation of legislation.
  3. The State House of Assembly exhibits and encourages political accountability and transparency through involvement of stakeholders’ participation and contribution including the civil society groups in legislative process.
  4. Inadequate infrastructural facilities remain impeding challenge to maternal healthcare accessibility, especially across grassroots in the state.
  5. Apart from frequent complications from pregnancy and childbirth, other reasons for the high maternal mortality in the State include low Anti-natal care coverage which stands at 20.1%; low professional and facility based delivery rates which stands at 5.1% and 4.5% respectively; and low modern contraceptive prevalence rate standing at 0.2%.
  6. Capacity gaps among the Legislative and Executive arms in appropriation process and development of memo to access budgetary allocation delay release of the allocation for timely maternal and child health interventions.
  7. While the State records high rate of severely acute malnourished children, the State House of Assembly has set up a committee to devise innovative approach to mitigate the malnutrition challenges in the presence dwindling donors’ resources.
  8. The State Assembly had increased budgetary allocation to nutrition from N270million to N300mllion in the 2017 Appropriation Act.

Recommendations:

  1. Strengthen the State Government and Local Governments working relationship to promote accessibility to maternal healthcare facilities and services, especially in the grassroots.
  2. Establishing an enabling platform for health sector program managers and State House of Assembly Committees on Health and Appropriation to critically look at the health budget and proffer either to increase or make changes on priorities health needs.
  3. Creative and innovative media to support maternal and child health investigative journalism and documentaries on case studies as an advocacy tool in decision making.
  4. Re-creating Civil Society Liaison Unit of the State House of Assembly to foster smooth participation of Civil Society engagement and encourage accountability platform.
  5. Creating a legislative budget and research Department in the State House of Assembly to be coordinated by legislative experts on budgetary processes as a feedback mechanism to harmonise citizens’ inputs to inform legislative decision in Appropriation process.
  6. Strengthen capacity in memo development and presentation to access maternal health budgetary allocation.

Call to immediate action:

  • State House of Assembly to ensure adequate funds are allocated to health sector.
  • State House of Assembly to track the Ministry of Health budget through adequate oversight activities to ensure funds are judiciously utilized.
  • To bridge capacity gaps in the legislature and media.
  • State House of Assembly to re-create a CSOs Liaison Office to enhance legislative-CSOs working relation.
  • State House of Assembly to create a Budget and Research Office in Assembly.
  • The media to design and air programmes, drama, jingles to raise policy and public awareness and consciousness on maternal and child health.
  • Media to strengthen collaboration with legislature and civil society to promote effective implementation of budgetary allocation to maternal and child health.
  • Media to set agenda for maternal health issues through free-airtime programmes.

Signed:

  1. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director, CISLAC

  1. Musa Sule Dutse

Chairman Appropriation Committee, Jigawa State House of Assembly

  1. Tijani Zakari

Secretary, Committee on Education

  1. Anas Abdullahi

Radio Jigawa

2016: Kaduna health budget performance above average

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE-DAY EXECUTIVE AND MEDIA DIALOGUE ON MATERNAL HEALTH ORGANIZED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) WITH SUPPORT FROM THE MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, HELD AT CHIMCHERRY HOTEL, KADUNA STATE ON 4TH MAY, 2017.

Preamble:

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a One-day Executive and Media Roundtable on Maternal Health. The Roundtable aimed at bringing Kaduna State’s executives, civil society and the media under one roof to brainstorm on necessary action for timely release and effective implementation of maternal and child health budget in the state for efficient intervention and maximum impacts on the citizens. The meeting drew participants representing Ministries of Health, Education, Women Affairs, Civil Society Organizations, and the Media. After exhaustive deliberations on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:

Observations:

  1. Kaduna State Government has clearly articulated its readiness to ensure accountability in maternal and child health care service delivery through the state’s Three Years (2016 to 2019) Performance Management Framework.
  2. While the state’s 2016 overall health budget performance was reportedly above average, large sum of the health allocation is used for debt servicing.
  3. Poor individual awareness or inappropriate understanding of the existing policy like Free Maternal and Child Health is an impending challenge to maternal and child health services accessibility in the state.
  4. In 2007/08, the State Government had signed a memorandum of understanding with 23 local governments in the state on funding for FMCH.
  5. Identified challenges to Free MCH in the state include inadequate funds, non/irregular collection of drugs from the state medical store, poor record keeping, lack of monitoring and supervision, delay in release of appropriated funds, poorly motivated staff.
  6. Weak working relations between the media and MDAs remain an inherent systemic challenge to appropriate information dissemination on FMCH.
  7. Absence of information on MCH in schools has further intensified maternal mortality through early marriage in the state.
  8. Unfriendly health facilities deny adequate accessibility to maternal and child health services to vulnerable groups and people with special needs.

Recommendations:

  1. Mainstreaming media for training and retraining programmes on budget tracking and monitoring to enhance their capacity to demand accountability on the implementation of maternal and child health budget.
  2. Appropriate understanding of the existing policies on maternal and child health by the media and civil society to effectively advocate and raise public awareness on the selected Free Maternal and Child Health services in the state.
  3. Prioritized budgetary allocation to health sector to promote accessible, effective and affordable maternal health care service delivery in the state.
  4. Timely request and release (Cash Backing) of health budgetary allocation by relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies to fast-track maternal and child health interventions and services.
  5. Leveraging the existing funding opportunities to reduce health fund burden such as Saving One Million Lives scheme by the World Bank, National Health Act, development partners.
  6. Leveraging existing legislation like Freedom of Information Act (FOI) in accessing public information and demand accountability on maternal and child health, in absence of willingness to provide information.
  7. Strengthen collaboration or partnership among the media, civil society and the ministries, departments and agencies, with specific focus on ministry of health to project the issue of maternal health.

Action points:

  1. Adequate sensitization on maternal health by Ministry of Education across all schools
  2. Mainstreaming women and youth in the existing programmes by Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
  3. Mainstreaming the media in programmes and activities of Ministry of Health to help in maternal health information dissemination.
  4. Enhanced advocacy to prioritise civil society, media and MDAs synergy
  5. Engage stakeholders on maternal health through awareness creation and sensitization
  6. More socially responsive media to health related issues through strengthen relationship with relevant stakeholders.

Stakeholders renew commitment to prioritize malnutrition as a major developmental challenge in the north

DECLARATION OF ACTION AFTER A TWO-DAY NUTRITION BUDGET TRACKING WORKSHOP FOR 12 NORTHERN STATES OF NIGERIA ORGANISED BY THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AND UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF) HELD AT GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL, KANO STATE ON 10TH AND 11TH MAY 2017

The Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning in partnership with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organized a two-day Budget Tracking Workshop for 12 northern states’ Policy Makers and Civil Society. The Workshop aimed at bringing the States Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Budget and Planning, Water Resources, Education, Women Affairs and Social Development and Primary Health Development Agencies with specific nutrition budget under one roof to: collate focused states nutrition budget data (2010-2016 financial year), share and agree on budget tracking methodology and tools to track and analyse nutrition budget allocation, releases and expenditure in state government ministries, departments and agencies and other stakeholders to inform policy and advocacy towards increasing funding to scale up nutrition interventions in the selected states.

The meeting drew over 70 participants from States Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Budget and Economic Planning, States Primary Health Care Development Agencies, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Health, UNICEF Chiefs of Field Office Sokoto and Katsina, Civil Society Organisations and the Media. After exhaustive deliberation on various thematic issues, we the participants:

Recognised that proper nutrition, especially within the first 1000 days, provides a sound footing for a brighter start of life with greater potentials of attaining a healthier life, better educational outcomes, and improved productivity in adulthood leading to higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries

Also recognised that while adequate and sustainable funding for nutrition remains paramount to promote healthy and secured society, sustainable growth in the twelve  Northern States that participated in this workshop cannot be achieved without prioritised attention to nutrition investment at all levels.

Further recognised that embracing multi-sectoral approach through adequate budgetary allocation to nutrition related activities in the line Ministries, Departments and Agencies will enhance concerted nutrition sensitive intervention as a delivery platform for nutrition specific intervention to address malnutrition scourge in the states.

Expressed concern over delay in domestication and implementation of the existing national policy guidelines on nutrition such as the National Policy on Food and Nutrition and the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition by the States, that hampers efforts to addressing nutrition through a multi-sectoral approach.

Also expressed concern over inadequate Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) across the States that further poses a threat to saving lives of children with conditions of Severe Acute Malnutrition, thus drawing back the efforts in addressing childhood malnutrition and mortality.

Noted that inadequate budgetary allocation to nutrition and delay or non-release of funds allocated for nutrition related activities by some state governments are inherent systemic challenges in complementing donors’ efforts in scaling up interventions in nutrition in view of the fact most of the current interventions are donor-driven which has serious implications for sustainability.

Also noted that timely release of funds for 2017 nutrition budget implementation will help to scale-up nutrition interventions and leverage donor resources for treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition, scale up of infant and young child feeding practices and the control of micronutrients deficiency.

Affirmed that supporting domestication and effective implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition with functional State Committee on Food and Nutrition as well as costed Nutrition Plan of Action by the States will provide guidelines and enhance planning for policy formulation towards maternal and child nutrition intervention and financing.

Committed to effectively deploy skills and knowledge gathered from this Workshop to inform evidence-based advocacy in tracking, monitoring and reporting nutrition budget for timely release and judicious utilisation of nutrition budgetary allocation to both nutrition sensitive and nutrition specific interventions in our respective states.

Also committed to work towards adequate budgetary allocation for the procurement of RUTF for Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) continuation and scale-up nutrition activities.

Further committed to leverage support from UNICEF to help states develop a budget tracking document to enhance appropriate tracking and monitoring process.

Will prioritize malnutrition as a major health and developmental challenges that is contributing to impeding socio-economic development of Northern Nigeria

Shall effectively strengthen collaboration among the line Ministries, Departments and Agencies, with specific focus on key developmental sectors and Local Government Authorities to project the nutrition sensitive and nutrition specific interventions

Resolved to work with Director of Planning with the support of UNICEF in our respective states to utilise the budget documents (2010-2016) to develop a substantive budget tracking document to inform policy decision.

Signed:

S/N NAME STATE MDAs
1. Hussaini Maisamari Yelwa Kebbi MBEP
2. Suleiman Mamman Gmobe State Nutrition Officer
3. George M. Sha’a Adamawa ASPC
4. Dahiru Sambo Usman Bauchi SPC
5. Aminu SARKIN-HATSI KUDAI Jigawa BEPD
6. PHOEBE SUKAI YAYI Kaduna MOBP
7. Abubakar Abande Yobe YOSADP
8. Hyelapila Bwala Borno Budget and Planning
9. Samaila Bakwai Umar Zamfara Zamfara SPHCB
10. Faruku Dandare Sokoto MOA
11. Muhammad Ya’u Kano MOPB
12. Muhammad Kabir Bara’u Katsina Budget and Economic Planning

 

 

50% child mortality in the country has malnutrition as underlining cause

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A TWO-DAY SUMMIT FOR STATE POLICY MAKERS ON FINANCING NUTRITION IN NORTHERN NIGERIA ORGANIZED BY THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF BUDGET AND NATIONAL PLANNING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AND UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF) WITH SUPPORT FROM UKAID AND CHILDREN’S INVESTMENT FUND FOUNDATION OF UK HELD AT TAHIR GUEST PALACE, G.R.A KANO STATE ON 24TH AND 25TH NOVEMBER, 2016.

Preamble

The Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning in partnership with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organized a two-day Summit for State Policy Makers on Financing Nutrition in Northern Nigeria. The Summit aimed at bringing the States legislators and high level policy makers from various states under one roof to: understand the complexity and multi-sectoral nature of nutrition; identify opportunities for financing nutrition in the 2017 budget in their respective states, understand existing efforts by the States towards sustainably increasing nutrition investment including nutrition emergency in Northern Nigeria. The meeting drew over 70 leaders from State Houses of Assembly, States Ministries of Health, Budget and Economic Planning, State Executive Secretaries, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Health, civil society groups and the media.

The Summit was attended by Members of the State Houses of Assembly such as Gombe State Chairman House Committee on Health, Hon. Bature G. Usman; Gombe State Chairman House Committee on Finance, Hon. Adamu J. Saidu; Chairman Katsina State House Committee on Health, Hon. Abubakar Mohammed; Yobe State Chairman House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Bukar Mustapha; Chairman Yobe State House Committee on Health, Hon. Ya’u Usman Dachia; Chairman Kaduna State House Committee on Health, Hon. Dr. Baal Z. Auta; Chairman Kaduna State House Committee on Appropriation and Implementation, Hon. Ahmed Mohammed; Chairman Kano State House Committee on Budget, Rt. Hon. Abdul G. Azeez; Deputy Chairman Bauchi State House Committee on Health, Hon. Sale A. Umar; Deputy Chairman Bauchi State House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdullahi S. Abdulkadir; Chairman Sokoto State House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Hon. Malami Ahmed Mohammed, Sokoto State Chairman House Committee on Health, Hon. Bature B. Muhammad.

The Summit was also attended by members of the States’ Executives; Kano State Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kabiru I. Getso; Jigawa State Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abba Z. Umar; Kebbi State Honourable Commissioner for Health, Umar Usman Kambaza; Yobe State Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Idi Barde Gubana; Yobe State Honourable Commisioner for Health, Dr. M.B. Kawuwa; Economic Adviser to the Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Murtala M. Dabo; Special Adviser to the Bauchi State Governor on Donors and NGOs, Alhaji Mansur Manu Soro; Special Adviser on Budget and Planning to the Bauchi State Governor, Mr. Bello Gidado; Special Adviser on Finance and Budget to the Adamawa State Government, Mr. Umar Bakari; Permanent Secretary, Jigawa State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Adamu Muhammad Garun Gabas; Permanent Secretary Borno State Ministry of Budget and Planning, Alhaji Mustapha T. Abba; Permanent Secretary Bauchi State Planning Commission, Mr. Yahuza Adamu; Special Adviser on Health to the Jigawa State Governor, Hon. Bello Umar; Acting Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State Ministry of Budget, Usman Arzika Bodinga.

After exhaustive deliberations on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:

 Observations:

  1. Malnutrition impacts negatively on the socio-economic development of a nation, and sustainable growth in Northern Nigeria cannot be achieved without prioritised attention to nutrition investment at all levels.
  2. Undernutrition remains high in Northern Nigeria with about 2.2 million out of the 2.5 million severely acute malnourished children being from Northern Nigeria. Majority of children do not receive minimum acceptable diet. While 50% child mortality in the country has malnutrition as underlining cause, no fewer than 1200, out of 2600 estimated daily deaths are caused by malnutrition.
  3. Delay in domestication and implementation of the existing national policy guidelines on nutrition such as the National Policy on Food and Nutrition and the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition by the States, hampers efforts to addressing nutrition through a multi-sectoral approach by the relevant sectors including health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, social protection, among others.
  4. Inadequate budgetary allocation to nutrition and delay or non-release of nutrition appropriated funds by the state governments are inherent systemic challenges in complementing donors’ efforts in scaling up interventions in nutrition.
  5. Having visited treatment site for children with severe acute malnutrition to observe the severity of undernutrition in Northern Nigeria, we are deeply touched and worried that inadequate Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) across the States is a threat to saving lives of children with conditions of severe acute malnutrition, thus defeating the efforts in addressing childhood malnutrition and mortality.
  6. Lack of legal framework on nutrition budget appropriation and oversight.
  7. Food insecurity, inappropriate feeding habits, poor awareness on acceptable adequate diet, insufficient health facilities and services are contributory factors to maternal and child malnutrition across the North.

Recommendations:

  1. Prioritize malnutrition as a major health crisis in Northern Nigeria.
  2. We commit working towards ensuring government provides funding for procurement of RUTF for CMAM continuation and scale-up in 2017 as well as encourage government to explore opportunities for local production of RUTF.
  3. Consider nutrition as a multi-sectoral issue; develop and adopt multi-sectoral policies and implementable costed plans to address the high rates of malnutrition in Northern Nigeria.
  4. Immediate release of funds for 2016 nutrition budget and put adequate funds in the 2017 states’ budgets to scale up nutrition interventions, giving consideration to adequate fund provision to maximize and leverage donor resources for treatment of severe acute malnourished children, scale up of infant and young child feeding practices and micronutrients deficiency.
  5. Development of legal framework by the State Houses of Assembly to create ownership and institutionalize dedicated nutrition budget lines.
  6. Prompt domestication and effective implementation of the National Policy for Food and Nutrition with functional support system and costed Nutrition Plan of Action by the States to provide guidelines and enhance planning for policy formulation towards maternal and child nutrition intervention and financing.
  7. Encouraging appropriate and exclusive breastfeeding system through individual re-orientation, community participation and ownership, to address childhood malnutrition and combat childhood killer diseases at all levels.
  8. Embracing local capacity in addressing malnutrition through diversification into agricultural sector to boost local remedies, enhanced financial support for Small-Scale farming and Small Scale Enterprises; and appropriate community mobilization, sensitization and awareness.
  9. Mainstreaming well-funded nutrition components in the State Primary Health Care systems to ensure that minimum package of nutrition is institutionalized through policy transformation and service delivery.
  10. Organize and arrange visits to CMAM sites for our respective colleagues (SHOA, Commissioners and Executives) to better understand the severity and complexity of the malnutrition crisis in our states.
  11. Build synergy between the state legislative and executive arms on nutrition interventions

Signed:

  1. Umar Bakari

Special Adviser on Finance and Budget to Adamawa State Governor

  1. Adamu Muhammad Garun Gabas

Permanent Secretary, Jigawa State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning

  1. Musa Sule Dutse

Member of Jigawa State House of Assembly

  1. Bello Gidado

Special Adviser on Budget and Planning to the Bauchi State Governor

  1. Yahuza Adamu

Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Planning Commission

  1. Abdullahi Sa’ad Abdulkadir

Deputy Majority Leader, Bauchi State House of Assembly

  1. Rabiu Musa

Member, Katsina State House Committee on Appropriation

  1. Nuhu Musa Tama

Member of Bauchi State House of Assembly

  1. Zayyanu Sayyadi

Secretary, Zamfara House Appropriation Committee

  1. Abubakar Wakili

Director, Gombe State Ministry of Economic and Planning

  1. Idi Barde Gubana

Yobe State Honourable Commissioner for Budget and Planning

  1. Alhaji Mansur Manu Soro

Special Adviser to the Bauchi State Governor on Donors and NGOs,

  1. Salisu U. Maraji

Director Admin & Finance, Kaduna State Ministry of Budget

  1. Ahmed Mohammed

Chairman, Kaduna State House Committee on Appropriation and Implementation

  1. Dr. Isaac Z. Auta

Member of Kaduna State House Committee on Health

  1. Murtala M. Dabo

Special Adviser on Economic to the Kaduna State Governor

  1. Umar Usman Kambaza

Kebbi State Commissioner for Health

  1. Bature G. Usman

Chairman Gombe State House Committee on Health & Human Service

  1. Mohammed M. Katanga

Secretary Jigawa State House Committee on Health

  1. Faruk Namalam

Director, Sokoto State Primary Health Care Development Agency

  1. Kubura Ahmad Bichi

Director of Planning and Research, Kano State Planning Commission

  1. Sule A.U

Member of Bauchi State House Committee on Health

2017 budget: Kano allocates 12.6% to health

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE-DAY EXECUTIVE AND MEDIA ROUNDTABLE ON MATERNAL HEALTH ORGANIZED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) WITH SUPPORT FROM THE MAC ARTHUR FOUNDATION, HELD AT NASSARAWA GUEST HOUSE, KANO STATE ON 27TH APRIL, 2017.

PREAMBLE:

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a One-day Executive and Media Roundtable on Maternal Health. The Roundtable aimed at bringing Kano State’s executives, civil society and the media under one roof to brainstorm on necessary action for timely release and effective implementation of maternal and child health budget in the state for efficient intervention and maximum impacts on the citizens. The meeting drew over 20 participants representing Ministries of Health, Planning and Budget, Women Affairs, Civil Society Organizations, and the Media. After exhaustive deliberations on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:

Observations:

  1. The State presently records adequate Health Management Information System, which is subjected to periodic review by the instituted Maternal Death Review Committee to ensure qualitative and accurate maternal health data collection and use in policy decision.
  2. In 2017 Appropriation Act, the state has allocated 12.6% (an increase from 9.7% in 2016) of its total budget to the health sector with 180, 000,000 naira dedicated for maternal and child health.
  3. Medical students are through the state’s scholarship engaged on overseas training programmes to bridge the high patients-to-doctor ratio and boost human resources for heath in the state; and established Community Midwifery College in Gwarzo for training of young girls to augment existing skilled birth attendance.
  4. The State Government has created the State Health Contributory Scheme with an established Agency to administer the Scheme, as a palliative measure to address the emerging dwindling revenue resources from Federation Account to the health sector.
  5. The sum of 50 million naira has been provided by the State Government to UNICEF through co-funding arrangement for the procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to mitigate child death from malnutrition.
  6. Unfriendly attitudes of some health workers remain endemic challenges impeding adequate attendance for health care services at health facilities in the state.
  7. Migration of the state’s trained skilled health workers to other states or international community at the expense of state’s dire needs for adequate and accessible health care services hampers efforts at addressing high patients-to-doctor ratio.
  8. In recent times, the state has witnessed appreciable decrease in maternal death rate.
  9. The State Government has provided tri-cycles; and in collaboration with National Union of Road Transport Workers is addressing referral system to create timely accessibility to health facilities across the state.

Recommendations:

  1. Adequate monitoring and supervision of health care workers in the state to forestall appropriate professional codes of conduct and constructive working relations between patients and health workers.
  2. Embracing other means like social media, drama and film production in the advocacy and dissemination of maternal and child health information to ensure wider circulation and outreach.
  3. Leveraging the State Civil Service code with specific provision for civil servant to serve anywhere in the state in the dissemination of health workers to avert persistent migration of health workers to urban areas at the expense of rural counterparts.
  4. Formidable effort by the media through evidence-based advocacy and investigative journalism in demanding accountability from relevant stakeholder to sustain existing achievements and enhance judicious utilization of maternal health funding in the provision of adequate, accessible and affordable health care services.
  5. Provision of appropriate monitoring system for the procurement and dissemination of commodities with timely release of appropriated fund for maternal and child health interventions.
  6. Ensuring transparency in the utilization of health care funds through appropriate audit; and provision of proper monitoring mechanism to address stock out of essential maternal health commodities.

Signed:

  1. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director of CISLAC

  1. Mallam Dahiru Musa

Permenent Secretary, Kano State Ministry of Health

  1. Zuwaira Omar

CHRICED

  1. Semira W. Kuaa

Kano State Ministry of Women Affairs

‘Inter-ministerial collaboration is key to progress in maternal health’—Experts

By Abubakar Jimoh

The Chairman, Katsina State Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, Muhammad Bashir Usman has said inter-ministerial collaboration among the State Ministries of Heath, Information, Education and Women Affairs was paramount to effective and concerted intervention on maternal and child health in the state.

The Chairman made this known during an Executive-Media dialogue organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) aimed at bringing the State’s executives and media under one roof to brainstorm on necessary action for timely release and effective implementation of maternal and child health budget for efficient intervention and maximum impacts on the citizens.

He said: “While successive governments have made several efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality, inter-ministerial partnership and engagement among the health related Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), especially around budget and its implementation is key to efficient healthcare delivery.”

Acknowledging that North West region is faced with serious human resource gaps in the health sector, Usman said Katsina state recorded merely 507 out of 4835 midwifes required to provide maternal health services across the state.

He however, commended the recent policies, frameworks and guidelines initiated by the State Government to improve the situation such as persistent recruitment of additional health care personnel and introduction of health care education across higher institutions, as measures to mitigate high patients-to-doctor ratio in the state.

“The State in recent times has taken drastic step towards mitigating high patient-to-doctor ratio through persistent recruitment of additional health care personnel and introduction of health care education across higher institutions.

“As part of the strategy to create accessible, affordable and improved health care system, especially in the grassroots, Katsina State House of Assembly has taken a step to harmonize the State’s Primary Health Care through a Bill presently receiving legislative inputs,” Usman explained.
According to him, with over 6million population, the state’s maternal mortality rate stands at 634 per 100,000; infant mortality, 22 per 1000; and under-5 mortality, 36 per 1000 live births.

He urged realistic health budget composition through appropriate consultation with communities and relevant stakeholders by the media and civil society groups to promote effective implementation.

Also, Mr. Ibrahim Maiwada representing the State Ministry of Health added that mainstreaming maternal and child health as multi-sectoral issues through prioritized efforts among various Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state would help in concerted effort to address maternal and child health.

The Snr. Program Officer (Gender and Reproductive Health), CISLAC, Chioma Kanu expressed concerns over impending factors such as information accessibility, lack of fund, capacity gaps and restrictive policies hampering investigative journalism, policy and public awareness on maternal and child health, encouraging full capacity deployment and utilization of Media and Public Relations Department of various Ministries to encourage timely and appropriate information dissemination.

The State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, represented by Mr. Muhammad Kabir Barau revealed that in 2017 Appropriation Act, the State Government has allocated 8.97% to the health sector, which is an increase from the previous years.

He observed under-performance in part of the established Budget Monitoring and Tracking Committee as an impeding challenge to budget performance monitoring and evaluation in the state.

“Katsina State has received its share of the World Bank’s “Save 1 million Lives” fund and established implementation Committee with maternal and child as a key priority for intervention,” Barau added.

Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) represented by Dr. Sabiu Laidi explained that evidence-based advocacy by civil society groups in the state would assist them to understand, identify relevant facts and figures to effectively advocate and engage policy and legislative process on maternal and child health.

He further advised the media on well-packaged and persistent maternal health programmes by through persistent and innovative coverage and reportage that captivate policy, legislative and public attention towards maternal and child health.

‘There should be zero tolerance for maternal death’– Perm Sec, KSMoH

By Abubakar Jimoh

“There should be zero tolerance for maternal death in presence of the on-going renewed efforts by the Kano State Government to ensure adequate, accessible and affordable health care services in the state”, the Permanent Secretary Kano State Ministry of Health, Mallam Dahiru Musa has said.

The Permanent Secretary disclosed this during an Executive and Media dialogue on Maternal Health organized by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Kano state to bring the state’s executives and media under one roof to brainstorm on necessary action for timely release and effective implementation of maternal and child health budget in the state for efficient intervention and maximum impacts on the citizens.

He said: “There should be no maternal death. The state has put in place adequate Health Management Information System, which is subjected to periodic review by the instituted Maternal Death Review Committee to ensure qualitative and accurate maternal health data collection and use in policy decision.

“Medical students are through the state’s scholarship engaged on overseas training programmes to bridge the high patients-to-doctor ratio and boost human resources for heath in the state; and established Community Midwifery College in Gwarzo for training of young girls to augment existing skilled birth attendance.

“The State Government has created the State Health Contributory Scheme with an established Agency to administer the Scheme, as a palliative measure to address the emerging dwindling revenue resources from Federation Account to the health sector.”

Musa added that the sum of 50 million naira was recently provided by the State Government to United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) through co-funding arrangement for the procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to mitigate child death from malnutrition.

Also speaking during the Dialogue, Mrs. Zuwaira Omar, representing CHRICED, however, debunked unfriendly attitudes of some health workers as endemic challenges impeding timely realisation of adequate attendance for health care services at health facilities in the state.

She said migration of the state’s trained skilled health workers to other states or international community at the expense of state’s dire needs for adequate and accessible health care services had hampered efforts at addressing high patients-to-doctor ratio.

Presenting the issues affecting effective utilization of health budget, Muhammad Inuwa Shu’aib noted that maternal deaths account for 32 percent of all deaths among women between 15 and 49 years.

While commending the State Government’s effort at increasing budgetary allocation to health sector, amounting to 12.6% in current year as against 9.7% in 2016, he revealed that the sum of 180, 000,000 naira has been dedicated for maternal and child health services.

He noted: “In the past, the release was on quarterly basis. Some efforts demonstrated to use findings from Operational Research in 2008 played a vital role to influence decision making, where release was reviewed to monthly basis.

“Although there were some factors—bureaucratic process, poor timing that caused delay in the release of fund up till 2016, delay resulted in more death of pregnant women in the State. Currently, there is consistency in the release of Maternal Health fund particularly in this quarter January-March 2017.”

Shu’aib explained that high maternal and child mortality rates reported for the state could easily be attributed to “the fact that only 13% of deliveries in Kano were attended to by a skilled birth attendant, only 11% of deliveries in the state take place in a health care facility”.

According to him, the state’s Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) data is 1,025 deaths per 100,000 live births.

He added added: “The free maternal health is provided mostly in designated secondary health facilities far away from majority of the rural settlements. It is not currently seen as a programme that can go beyond the present health facility-based implementation approach.

“The free maternal health is facing severe operational problems including: inadequate human resource for health, inadequate funding, out of stock syndrome, inadequate infrastructure and lack of participation of the local governments authorities in the provision of free maternal health.

“There is inadequate community involvement and participation in the planning and implementation process which has resulted to a lack of community ownership of the free maternal health.”

He attributed the challenges facing maternal health in the state to inadequate analyzed data for expected target beneficiaries—pregnant women; inadequate projection of costing per head; over dependence on development/donor partners for support on health related issues; low involvement of community existing structures Civil Society Organisations, Community Based Organisations and media in Maternal Health budget process.

Shu’aib He urged formidable effort by the media through evidence-based advocacy and investigative journalism in demanding accountability from relevant stakeholder to sustain existing achievements and enhance judicious utilization of maternal health funding in the provision of adequate, accessible and affordable health care services; and provision of appropriate monitoring system for the procurement and dissemination of commodities with timely release of appropriated fund for maternal and child health interventions.

The dialogue drew over 20 participants representing Ministries of Health, Planning and Budget, Women Affairs, Civil Society Organizations, and the Media.