Nigeria: North West region is faced with serious human resource gaps in the health sector

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 MAKERA HOTEL, KATSINA STATE ON 12TH 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 Katsina 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 about 15 participants representing Ministries of Health, Budget and Economic Planning, Education and Women Affairs, Civil Society Organizations, and the Media. After exhaustive deliberations on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:

Observations:

  1. While adequate, accessible and affordable maternal and child is key to the development, survival and growth of every society, North West region is faced with serious human resource gaps in the health sector with merely 507 out of required 4835 midwifes in Katsina state.
  2. Inter-ministerial collaboration among the State Ministries of Heath, Information, Education and Women Affairs remains paramount to effective and concerted intervention on maternal and child health in Katsina state.
  3. Impending factors such as information accessibility, lack of fund, capacity gaps and restrictive policies hamper investigative journalism, policy and public awareness on maternal and child health.
  4. In 2017 Appropriation Act, Katsina State Government has allocated 8.97% (out of 15% Abuja Declaration) to the health sector, which is an increase from the previous years.
  5. Under-performance in part of the established Budget Monitoring and Tracking Committee in the State is an impeding challenge to budget performance monitoring and evaluation.
  6. Inadequate supervision of health sector, capacity gaps among health workers, lopsidedness in human resource deployment paves ways for over-concentration of health care workers in the urban areas at the expense of rural counterparts hence, impeding accessibility to maternal and child health services.
  7. 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.

Recommendations:

  1. Mainstreaming maternal and child health as multi-sectoral issues through prioritized efforts among various Ministries in galvanizing advocacy for maternal and child health.
  2. Proactive media with appreciable curiosity through prioritized resource utilization to engage investigative journalism, and raise policy and public awareness on maternal health budget allocation, release and implementation.
  3. Capacity building for health reporters on investigative journalism on maternal and child health issues through training and retraining programmes; and leveraging International Days to amplify policy and public awareness on maternal and child health.
  4. Enhanced legislative advocacy on the domestication of National Health Act 2014 and translation of existing health policies into legislation to promote sustainable intervention on maternal and child health.
  5. Addressing human resource gaps through adequate funding and supervision, engagement of sufficient and qualified health workers with appropriate incentives to bridge human resource gaps, especially in the rural areas.
  6. Evidence-based advocacy by civil society groups in the state to understand, identify relevant facts and figures to effectively advocate and engage policy and legislative process on maternal and child health.
  7. Well-packaged and persistent maternal health programmes by the media through persistent and innovative coverage and reportage that captivate policy, legislative and public attention towards maternal and child health.
  8. Full capacity deployment and utilization of Media and Public Relations Department of various Ministries to encourage timely and appropriate information dissemination.
  9. Realistic health budget composition through appropriate consultation with communities and relevant stakeholders by the media and civil society groups to promote effective implementation.

Action points:

  • Enlightenment advocacy to the traditional and religious leaders on maternal and child health issues by the media and civil society groups.
  • Utilize Bill Board to galvanize issues on maternal and child health.
  • Issue based approach to maternal and child health by the media.
  • Incorporate State Ministry of Information and National Orientation Agency to catalyze public awareness on maternal health.
  • Increase allocation to health sector.
  • Appropriate documentation of coverage and reportage to ease data accessibility and utilization.

Signed:

  1. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)

Executive Director, CISLAC

  1. Ibrahim Maiwada

Katsina State Ministry of Health

  1. Muhammad Kabir Barau

Katsina Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning

  1. Hajara B. Kankara

Katsina State Ministry of Education

  1. Ibrahim Sogiyi

State Primary Health care Development Agency

  1. Abdulaziz Imam Suleiman

Katsina State Ministry of Women Affairs

  1. Sabiu Laidi

Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON)

  1. Buhari Ahmed Badi

Katsina State Radio

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