The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) has emphasised the importance of addressing knowledge gaps and strengthening collaborative efforts among civil society organisations (CSOs), media and young people in its effort to improve the advocacy and accountability for women’s, children and adolescents’ health and well-being.
The call was made during a meeting held in Abuja, where commitments made by the government on reproductive maternal, newborn, child, adolescent, elderly and nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) were reviewed.
The engagement and partnership consultant at AHBN, Mrs. Oyeyemi Pitan stressed the need for a collaborative advocacy action plan to enhance access to healthcare services for women, children and adolescents while fortifying the country’s healthcare systems. Pitan urged CSOs, the media and young people to join hands in advancing the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The programme manager at HERFON, Dr. Opeyemi Adeosun highlighted the necessity for an ongoing scoping review to assess progress in RMNCAEH+N commitments. Adeosun emphasised the importance of advocating for new commitments related to adolescent well-being and urged stakeholders to identify and strengthen accountability mechanisms at the national level for tracking maternal, newborn, and child health, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and adolescent well-being.
The CEO of Vaccine Network for Disease Control, Mrs. Chika Offor praised AHBN’s initiative and emphasised the inclusion of people with disabilities. Offor stressed the importance of making government healthcare policies easily accessible and understandable by all Nigerians. She called for accountability measures to ensure the success of these policies.
Founder of Cedar Seed Foundation, Ma Lois Auta echoed the call for the inclusion of people with disabilities, applauding the government for recognising the elderly in RMNCAEH+N but highlighting the unique needs of people with disabilities.
Earlier in the meeting, a health economist and monitoring & evaluation specialist at AHBN, Mrs. Maimuma Abdullahi shared that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) was developing a strategy for RMNCAEH+N in Nigeria. The strategy aims to reduce maternal, neonatal, child, adolescent and elderly morbidity and mortality in the country while promoting universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and nutritional services.
Abdullahi encouraged CSOs and the media to support the FMoH in finalising, publishing, launching and disseminating the RMNCAEH+N strategy. She also advocated for the development of a scorecard to track its implementation progress.
AHBN, with support from the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), is coordinating the development of the Collaborative Advocacy Action Plan through a multi-stakeholder platform and RMNCAEHN CSOs in Nigeria. The organisation aims to enhance advocacy, accountability and health outcomes for women, children and adolescents across the country.