By Ndidi Chukwu
Coalition on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Niger State (CoMiN) has called on the Niger State Government to prioritize the implementation of state immunization activities by releasing funds in its 2016 budget allocated to health for implementation of child and family health program.
The coalition formerly known as Coalition of Civil Society Organizations and Media for Routine Immunization in Niger State (CCSRINS), has officially re-grouped to be called Coalition on Maternal Newborn and Child Health in Niger State (CoMiN) for better coordination to achieve bigger impact in the state through advocacy for improved funding and policy implementation of health programs.
In its meeting held in Minna, the capital of Niger State on Thursday 18th August 2016, the coalition has called on the state government to revive its Routine immunization Task Force which has the deputy governor as the chairman and the commissioner of health as its secretary, for scale-up of immunization programs, and availability of funds for health programs.
Its concern for the poor funding for health care in the state is in response to the polio resurgence in Nigeria and the need to ensure that governments at all levels scale up their immunization activities to prevent further spread of the virus. Its objective is to ensure that policies are in place and well implemented to reduce maternal and child health, CoMiN has also observed that the non-release of funds allocated to health in the state has negative impact in the protection of the lives of mothers and children.
While commending the effort of the state government towards achieving the full implementation of Primary Health Care Under-one-Roof, the Chair of the coalition, Mrs. Mary Jalingo said the state would need to make funds available for its health objectives to be achieved.
“in achieving a good health outcome, funding is key, the Niger State Government has already shown its interest in improving the health of the people in Niger by ensuring health is allocated adequate funds in the 2016 budget, it is our hope that the funds which have been signed as appropriation act is released to enable relevant health agencies implement all the good programs this government has set up for the state”
She maintained that funds should be released to the State Primary Health Care Development Agency to enable the implementation of routine immunization programs planned for September and beyond, while calling for accountable and transparent utilization of immunization funds in the state.
With support from Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) that manages the Routine Immunization component of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) in Nigeria, CoMiN is engaging the state’s policy makers in Routine Immunization budget tracking and advocacy as well as other maternal, newborn and child health issues, but has decried the slow pace in which health programs are being implemented in the state.
“we want to see a transparent budget process where the public will have access to information on its health care financing and policy implementation, a community that knows its health rights and have good access to them made available by the government of the day will stand for it, it is important that the needs of the populace is prioritized” said Shehu Ahmed Baba, CoMiN member and CHR focal officer in Niger State.