A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) has expressed concern over the inability of the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) response plan to achieve its full objectives, despite just having three months to come to round-off.
The coordinator, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr. Aminu Magashi who spoke on behalf of the CSOs, said this in a statement he signed on Monday in Abuja.
Science Nigeria reports RMNCAEH+N plan was developed in 2020 with an estimated cost of N12,190,045,688billion to mitigate the indirect impact of COVID- 19, as well as prioritise and maintain the provision of RMNCAEH+N services such as routine immunisation, reproductive health services, care during pregnancy and childbirth, essential care for new-born, young infants and under-five children, adolescents, older adults and the elderly.
Magashi questioned what becomes of the plan after its expiration in three months.
“Will it be extended or will the plan be discarded halfway despite its potential to transform the health sector and result in the improved health status of Nigerians?
“The electioneering campaign running towards the 2023 election has since begun.
“This will, no doubt, disrupt the implementation of the plan, considering that major actors and implementers of the plan will be moving to nooks and crannies of the country canvassing for votes. This, therefore, heightened the fear of the CSOs about what happened to the plan.
“The Federal Government has done well in its efforts to ensure that the plan achieves its targets. Even though three months to the expiration of the plan, we have to remain optimistic that more will be achieved if the government puts more effort.”
Magashi called on the Federal Government to consider extending the plan, considering its importance to the health sector and the health of Nigerians.
“The plan, if executed later, will bring dramatic change and improvement to our health sector. The government should not make the mistake of discarding the plan.
“This administration may not achieve the RMNCAEH+N target 100 per cent; however, since the government is a continuum, I suggest that the plan be sustained so that the next administration can continue with it.
“It is, however, important to stress here that the government needs to increase its momentum in the implementation of the RMNCAEH+N plan so that we can achieve like 80 per cent of the target before the expiration of this first phase,” he said.
The AHBN coordinator said that legislators should be interested in the 100 per cent implementation of the RMNCAEH+N plan because it concerns the people across the board, including both the poor and the rich in both rural and urban areas.
“I, therefore, call on the legislators to join in mounting pressure on the government to allow for the continuation of the RMNCAEH+N plan after its expiration in the next three months,” he called.
Recall that the RMNCAEH+N COVID-19 response continuity plan was put together to ensure uninterrupted health services, including family planning, adolescents and youth health, as well as other essential health services to all Nigerians, to avert the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the Federal Government has taken some commendable steps to ensure the RMNCAEH+N plan succeeds, the CSOs insist that these steps fell short, since the objectives and needed results are far from being met.