By Asmau Ahmad
The development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) has joined other civil society groups from the African continent at the 6th Annual Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa conference, in Dakar, Senegal to discuss safeguarding and strengthening the role of CSOs in human and environmental health in Africa.
A key discussion at the conference centered on the need for African countries to improve on healthcare funding and not depend on aid and loans.
A statement issued by the Country Director of dRPC, Dr. Judith-Ann Walker, said the conference brought civil society groups from across to discuss and proffer solutions to tackle the impact of practices, challenges, and policies and how they are impacting the continent’s human and environmental spaces.
In his keynote address at the conference, Prof. Mamuoda Ndiaye of the University of Dakar called on African civil society organisations to deepen their public health policy advocacy capacities and strategies.
“African civil society organisations are urged to ensure that governments shift health funding sources away from aid and loans and toward innovative domestic funding sources that prioritise health.
“To achieve this goal, African civil society organisations need help strengthening their policy and budget advocacy skills,” he said.
In her presentation at the conference, Dr. Salam Anas Ibrahim, the Director of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria, stated that: “Through a series of strategic engagements and partnerships, PAS has contributed to the launch of important policy documents such as the family planning Blueprint, FP2030 agenda, the Task shifting, and Task sharing policy and supported the implementation of maternal and child health interventions both at the National and subnational level.”
On their part, the PACFaH@Scale NGO leaders at the session (from the Alumni Association of the National Institute AANI-Lagos and Medical Women Association of Nigeria Kano) put on record the project’s contribution to the capacity development of their organisations, positioning these civil society groups to take up leadership roles in the policy advocacy space.
The African civil society organisations at the conference called on national governments and regional bodies to put in place new and more meaningful structures to include civil society in decision-making platforms.
This, they argued, would facilitate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 3, the health goal.