By Eunice Ali
Between Wednesday 14th – Thursday 15th June 2023 I attended at two days Strategic Retreat with NGO, Young people and Media To promote accountability for FP2030 commitments, Every New-born Action Plan (ENAP), Ending Preventable Maternal Morality (EPMM) and Sexual Gander Based Violence Justice in Nigeria organized by the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN).
The event called for a renewed action in the country to meet the targets of reducing maternal, new-born mortality, and stillbirth by 2030. It was a privilege to be part of the two-day Strategic Retreat The event was very impactful I learnt a lot about accountability, as we must take responsibility as a nation for the setbacks in the maternal health. As this has led to mortality during pregnancy and childbirth.
However, the new data and goals proposed by the launch of the first-ever joint ENAP and EMM progress report showed continuous improvement in maternal and new-born health, and also an increase in survival of mother and child and a reduction in stillbirth. The event also highlighted the important of new administration commitment to ensuring that country is not reducing it budget in health and social sectors while also working towards the primary health care that cater for maternal, new-born, and child health.
Another key point raised at the event is the Employing of health economists which can help present investment cases at the federal level would help ensure that the allocated money is directed towards crucial health-related initiatives.
At the end of every presentation all the participants were divided into two groups to develop advocacy messages with recommendations for ENAP/EPMM implementation. I was in Group 2 where me and my team members brainstormed on milestones 6-10 and presented. It was really an interactive session. The experience was unique and giving university day’s vibes.
At the event some insight how AHBN has been working on a project using the FP2030 motion tracker to acquire information from various stakeholders regarding their specific contributions to the FP2030 commitments. It is crucial for the government to educate communities about the available tiers of healthcare delivery. At the primary healthcare level, community health extension workers (CHEWs) are trained to provide basic services like malaria testing and treatment.
However, due to a lack of personnel, these services are underutilized. As a result, hospitals at the secondary level become overwhelmed and less efficient. By raising awareness and promoting the utilization of primary healthcare services, we can alleviate the burden on secondary tiers and ensure more effective healthcare delivery. Education is key to empowering communities and optimizing the healthcare system.
The VAPP law covers various forms of violence but particularly hones in on gender and sexual-based violence. It also redefines rape and is the first Nigerian law to recognize that rape can involve male victims. I learnt About VAPP Law in Nigeria and Other Nigerian laws say rape can only happen through vaginal penetration.
The VAPP law redefines that and expands it to include oral and anal sex as well as the use of objects or other body parts other than the penis, a first of its kind. I learnt the accessibility, availability, quality, and acceptability of reproductive health services regardless of age, race, religion etc. reproductive health services which included family planning, maternal and prenatal health, fertility care, adolescent SRH rights FGM, menstruation and menopause and unwanted pregnancies.
Raising public awareness through educational campaigns and initiatives targeting schools, universities, workplaces, and communities to promote a culture of consent, respect, and gender equality. Strengthening and enforcing existing laws related to sexual and gender-based violence, ensuring they are comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and victim-centred.
Enhancing the capacity of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and counsellors, to provide comprehensive and sensitive support to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Strengthening collaboration between relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, social services, and NGOs, to ensure a coordinated response to cases of sexual and gender-based violence.
Implementing mandatory training programs on preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence for all professionals working with vulnerable populations, such as teachers, social workers, and childcare providers. Establishing specialized courts or fast-track procedures to expedite the handling of sexual and gender-based violence cases, ensuring swift justice and reducing the trauma experienced by survivors.
Allocating adequate funding for prevention programs, survivor support services, and the implementation of legal measures to address sexual and gender-based violence effectively. Encouraging survivors to seek legal recourse by providing support and assistance throughout the litigation process, including access to legal aid, counselling, and protection against retaliation.
Ensuring the empowerment and inclusion of marginalized groups, including refugees, migrants, and people with disabilities, within the overall response to sexual and gender-based violence. I had the privilege to meet old colleagues and make new acquaintance. I will like to commend the presenters for providing great insight into the issues highlighted at the event.
This was an interesting part for me as a young person the Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement (MAYE) we had a press release on a working group for a congratulatory message and call to action for the new government across Nigeria to prioritize young people’s health and development from the onset of their governance.
The asks included health, education, employment, and economic empowerment, human rights, sustainability and climate action, meaningful inclusion, transparency and accountability. Advocating for the ratification and implementation of international agreements and conventions addressing sexual and gender-based violence, reinforcing commitment at a global level. This one sweet me a little paparazzi for us.
it was an insightful, impactful and eventful retreat. As the knowledge are insights received from event is an effective tool for intensifying advocacy in the various sectors. Special thanks to the CEO of Africa Health Budget Network Dr Aminu Garba Magashi and his entire team for putting this impactful program together.
Eunice Ali writes from Abuja