HEALTH FINANCING DIALOGUE: ENHANCING HEALTH BUDGET PERFORMANCE AND FINANCING OPTIONS IN LAGOS STATE

LAGOS, Nigeria, 17, May 2018–The Lagos State health Financing Dialogue was an opportunity for stakeholders in the health sector to discuss ways of ensuring timely access to the health sector budget. It was also an avenue to identify alternative sources of funding which could be harnessed to enhance the health budget performance in Lagos state.

 

The dialogue was attended by The Commissioner for Health, Lagos state, Representative of the Commissioner for Finance, the Director of Budget, Chairman of House Committee on Health, General Manager, Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Officers from; the Ministry of Health, Primary Health Care Board, Health Service Commission, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Access Bank, Journalists, LASAM members, representatives from developments partners (Save the Children, Nigeria Network of NGO-PACFaH@Scale (NNNGO-PAS), Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI2), Development Communications (DEVCOMS), FHI 360, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Pathfinder International, LASFADAM, Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), MamaYe and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

 

Discussions gave way to practical strategies on how to maximise budget performance in the health sector and ways to leverage the wealth of the country to provide better healthcare services to citizens.

 

In his address, the Commissioner for health, Lagos state, Dr. Olajide Idris noted that increased health financing is key to changing the situation of the health sector in the country. He identified that the current situation of health is not novel to the government as many advocacy platforms had come up at both State and Federal levels in the last two years. He, however, noted that although more resources are being disbursed by the government into health financing, the rapidly increasing population in the country makes their effort inadequate.

 

He expressed the need for all present to recognise the government’s continued commitment to ensuring that the 3 Agencies of health carry out their duties effectively towards improving the health budget performance in the state.

 

“We have to start looking at the tangibility of health care and how to convince providers that they have to adhere to quality standards to generate a certain delivery of healthcare service” noted Dr. Olamide Okulaja, representative, Pharmaceutical Access. In his presentation titled, ‘Practical Strategies to Maximise Budget Performance in the Health Sector’, he sighted that resource mobilisation is important for the health care system to function as the government cannot pull it off alone. Pertinent to discussions about improved health funding, he said, was the need to re-evaluate the utilization of resources that are being allocated to the health sector.

 

Dr. Okulaja added that mediums through which health outcomes can be linked to tangible outputs include; Job creation, road construction, general security, interministerial collaboration, access to capital and data.

 

Dr Peju Adenusi, General Manager, LASHMA, identified that the Lagos State health scheme which was signed into law in May 2015, establishes that policies such as; Premium care at ₦40,000 annual for a family of 6, full subsidies for 5% coverage of the very poor, funds are to be handled exclusively by LASHMA, roll out of LSHS simultaneously in the 3 senatorial districts, HIAs to be engaged for the implementation of the scheme excluding provider payment function and premium subsidy for Lagos State Civil Servants.

 

She added that it is the responsibility of citizens to understand the scheme and these policies, register themselves and their family through existing community-based groups/association, ensure regular payment of premium, do not extend the protection to non-registered family members, discuss inclusion of extra family members into the scheme with health insurance agents/hospitals, make suggestions/complains known through established mechanisms, including creating awareness about the scheme by encouraging others to join.

 

One of the high points of the event was a panel discussion which revealed the need for better monitoring of the process of fund requisition, approval and release by the Ministry of health to ensure increase in the health budget performance as well the need to reduce delays informed by bureaucratic practices in order to ensure optimum utilization of available funds to improve the health outcomes of the citizens of Lagos State.

 

Other interesting outcomes included a roundtable discussion focused on ‘Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme: Domestic Financing Options for Effective RMNCAH+N Service Delivery’, the launch of a campaign calling the government to adequately fund health care in Nigeria, a grand presentation of Key healthcare Asks by LASAM and the unveiling of the #FUNDNAIJAHEALTH.

 

In closing, Barr. Ayo Adebusoye of NNNGO-PAS charged the media to amplify their voices till government responds positively to an increase in allocation for health and there is an improvement in the health budget performance.

 

Written by Oyindamola Aramide, Communication Officer, NNNGO

NNNGO-PAS PROJECT DIRECTOR OYEBISI URGES IMPROVED RELEASE OF FUNDING FOR FAMILY PLANNING AND ROUTINE IMMUNIZATION

Oyebisi made the statement while delivering a keynote speech at the second Lagos State SDGs Summit with over 200 leading representatives of government, civil society, private sector and the media in Lagos.

 

Lagos, Nigeria, September 20, 2018/ — NNNGO-PACFAH@Scale Project Director, Oluseyi Oyebisi on Thursday urged governments at the State and Local Government level to seize opportunities for a healthy population by improving on the release of funding for family planning (FP) and routine immunization (RI) in Lagos State. Oyebisi made this statement while delivering a keynote speech at the second Lagos State Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit with over 200 leading representatives of government, civil society, private sector and the media in Lagos.

 

Speaking on the projects findings at the summit which had in attendance the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo, Oyebisi said: “from our work we have seen an increase in budget allocations to FP and RI in the 2018 budget and if we have more funds for our primary health care centers (PHC’s) to effectively deliver FP and RI services, we will see an increase to the uptake of family planning in the State”.

 

“Honourable Commissioner, as I prepare for my presentation at this summit, I reviewed the score card developed by NNNGO-PAS on FP financing at the 41 local government areas of Lagos State. We have seen commitment to family planning in the health budget for the State and I applaud you for that. Here you can see how funds are released to PHC’s and how little these funds are. We see between 3000 and 25,000 Naira given to PHC’s monthly to buy FP consumables albeit irregular.

 

An improved use of family planning services can help achieve our global goals objectives with results seen in the areas of unintended pregnancies, a cut in maternal and child deaths–giving women more control over their lives and the chance to work.

L-R: Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Oluseyi Oyebisi, Hon. Olusegun Banjo and Dr. Paul Abolo
L-R: Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Oluseyi Oyebisi, Hon. Olusegun Banjo and Dr. Paul Abolo

Honourable Sunday Olusegun Banjo, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Working Team Private Sector Advisory Group on SDGs Nigeria and Mories Atoki. – SM Sustainability, SDGs & Climate Change Pricewaterhousecoopers Inc were among panelists discussing multi-stakeholder approaches to attaining the SDGs at the event.

 

 

Oyebisi who is leading the Nigeria Network of NGOs /Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family at Scale, PACFaH@Scale, (PAS) a social accountability project aimed at ensuring improved financial commitment to FP and RI in Lagos State also met with a section of nonprofits at the event to discuss the PAS project.

NNNGO-PAS ORGANISES CSO MAPPING MEETING

LAGOS, Nigeria, 29 March, 2018– The Civil Society Organizations (CSO) mapping meeting was organized by NNNGOPACFaH@Scale to address the Intermediate Outcome under the Result Tracker which states “Increased CSO coalition network to conduct technical reviews of the state’s new domestic funding schemes and to provide feasibility study updates in Niger, Kaduna, Kano and Lagos”.

The meeting which was held at the O.L.A. Conference Centre, Maryland, Lagos State was attended by 25 organisations working in the civil society space and was focused on:

  • Producing a directory of relevant CSOs involved in RI and FP advocacy in Lagos state
  • Carrying out a rapid organizational and capacity assessment of the CSOs
  • Obtaining verifiable information on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to programming in the areas of funding for RI an FP, especially as it relates to advocacy and budget tracking
  • Forming a basis for capacity training of CSOs on the above stated issues.

To achieve these objectives, a study protocol was followed from which quantitative (Questionaire) and qualitative (Interview) data were collected to conduct the study. Part of what came up at the meeting was the need to reinforce the active role organisations play, especially in health advocacy. It is key to ensuring the sustainability of health development as it necessitates the establishment of partnerships among such organisations.

Report of the study

EXPERTS CALL ON GOVERNMENT AND OTHER KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN THE FP SPACE TO SCALE-UP INTERVENTIONS TOWARDS IMPROVING THE DELIVERY AND UPTAKE OF QUALITY REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES ACROSS THE COUNTRY

ABUJA, Nigeria October 12, 2018 –The need to improve service delivery, availability and access to Family Planning (FP), for the majority of women across Nigeria, has once again been reiterated by public sector officials, Academics and Civil Society representatives working in the area of reproductive health and family planning in Nigeria.

 

This was the consensus at a One-day Leadership Training for Family Planning Focal Persons organised on October 12, 2018, by the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC), under the PACFAH@Scale program with the aim of strengthening the leadership skills and competencies of participants so that they could champion FP issues and needs within the state system.

 

Speaking at the event, Greg Izuwa, Deputy Director, Reproductive Division, Federal Ministry of Health noted that scores of Nigerian women of reproductive age clamour for access to family planning but the program’s capacity in the country is highly inadequate to meet their needs, therefore it is imperative for everyone concerned to work together with the government so that these challenges can be mitigated.

 

“The Nigerian Government has, through the Federal Ministry of Health put in place a policy of free family planning information, services and commodities to family planning clients at public health facilities across the country,” said Mr Izuwa. This will help to address inaccessibility owing to ignorance and poverty mostly experienced by underprivileged Nigerian women. He added that select private health facilities are equally being supported with government’s free commodities to enable them to provide family planning services at very subsidized fees to willing clients.

 

“There are no systematic studies to determine the policy advocacy inclusions and exclusions in the family planning documents that abound in the public health space in Nigeria,” said Dr Aderibigbe Adedeji, Associate Professor of Public Health, University of Ilorin. He surmised that in order to achieve 27% modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR), there needs to be a thorough interrogation of existing policies in order to map how they can better address the needs of the people.

 

According to Joyce Ahmadu, a gender expert who spoke at the event, “there is need to propose policy actions to strengthen gender integration in future policy development processes” She identified that due to the gender specificity of family planning, government should explore gender-focused research and analysis of norms that affect health-seeking behaviours and health outcomes of women/girls and men/boys in order to arrive at effective interventions targeted at the specific issues. She said this is in response to the identification of gender gaps which came up during an assessment of policies and documents on child and family health in Nigeria.

 

She, therefore, recommended that policymakers should develop and include gender-sensitive results and indicators to guide the monitoring and evaluation of gender equality, disaggregate gender data at all levels and budget line for gender-related interventions as well as engage stakeholder from the government, CSO and INGOs with gender expertise in the policy development process.

 

NNNGO-PAS’s Program Officer, Ayo Adebusoye, one of the participants noted: “The conference helped to shape the thoughts and actions of CSO representatives who participated such that we now understand how best to leverage on our individual strengths while working together as a team in order to achieve optimal results”. He concluded that learning to work in synergy with other FP champions within the state and across the country is key to achieving family planning targets.

NNNGO-PAS HOSTS CSOS FOR A SECOND ADVOCACY REVIEW OF ROUTINE IMMUNIZATION 2018 WORKPLAN

LAGOS, Nigeria–/On November 1, 2018, NNNGO-PAS hosted 19 CSOs for a second NNNGO-PACFaH@Scale / LASAM Advocacy Sub Committee Meeting to Review Routine Immunization 2018 Workplan. The meeting was organised to address issues that had been identified as important for health advocacy during the first NNNGO-PAS/LASAM meeting which was held on September 21, 2018.

 

The first meeting which was attended by 14 CSO representatives had been organised by the NNNGO-PAS Team in order to articulate more focused areas of advocacy that would improve RI funding and coverage in Lagos State in Y2019. At the second NNNGO-PAS/LASAM work plan review meeting held on November 1, therefore, issues specific to the Lagos state reality in relation to RI were strategically discussed and solutions proffered.

 

In highlighting the best strategies to employ in order to achieve desired results, a recurring theme at the meeting was the need to involve beneficiaries in the campaign for improved reproductive health services, especially for hard-to-reach communities. Participants noted that ordinary citizens who are the beneficiaries of the PACFaH@Scale program, when armed with the adequate and appropriate information, have the ability to hold their governments accountable and demand increased funding for RI in Lagos state and the country.

 

To ensure that citizens have the information they require, participants worked on identifying the target beneficiaries per senatorial districts and LGAs and created a plan on how to disseminate issues briefs which contain information on the RI realities and the budgetary status. Participants also identified the need to cultivate working relationships with policy-makers and influencers while noting the need to articulate specific briefs to these policy-makers.

 

At the first NNNGO-PAS/LASAM advocacy meeting, participants had identified the need to establish a Local Government Health Authority (LGHA) as essential for effective RI coverage in Lagos state as it is the implementing arm of the Primary Health Care Board (PHCB). They also noted the importance of the LGHA in ensuring that public and private resources are coordinated within the LG. At the second meeting, therefore, participants raised an advocacy sub-team from amongst those in attendance with a mandate of working with LGA chairmen to ensure the establishment of LGHA.

 

Participants also noted the need to cultivate as RI champions within the various community. As RI champions, these individuals who could be opinion leaders who would be at the forefront of discussions relating to RI issues at both community and policy-making levels.

 

Another highlight of the meeting was a presentation made by the Reproductive Health Coordinator, Dr.  Okaga, in light of the need for intense advocacy to the State Treasury Office and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that remaining allocated funds for MNCH would be released. A delegate was set up immediately by the participating CSOs representatives and mandated to pay an advocacy visit to the State Treasury Officer and other relevant stakeholders as soon as the meeting ended.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organisations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. 

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