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.
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:
- 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.
- While the state’s 2016 overall health budget performance was reportedly above average, large sum of the health allocation is used for debt servicing.
- 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.
- In 2007/08, the State Government had signed a memorandum of understanding with 23 local governments in the state on funding for FMCH.
- 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.
- Weak working relations between the media and MDAs remain an inherent systemic challenge to appropriate information dissemination on FMCH.
- Absence of information on MCH in schools has further intensified maternal mortality through early marriage in the state.
- Unfriendly health facilities deny adequate accessibility to maternal and child health services to vulnerable groups and people with special needs.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prioritized budgetary allocation to health sector to promote accessible, effective and affordable maternal health care service delivery in the state.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adequate sensitization on maternal health by Ministry of Education across all schools
- Mainstreaming women and youth in the existing programmes by Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
- Mainstreaming the media in programmes and activities of Ministry of Health to help in maternal health information dissemination.
- Enhanced advocacy to prioritise civil society, media and MDAs synergy
- Engage stakeholders on maternal health through awareness creation and sensitization
- More socially responsive media to health related issues through strengthen relationship with relevant stakeholders.