CSOs Critical to Quality Maternal, Child Health Service Delivery – Group

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Maternal, Child Health Civil Society (MCH-CS) Partnership, on Tuesday noted that for government to deliver on high impact and high quality Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) intervention packages, Civil Societies (CSs) are critical.

Dr Suleiman Tanko, the Technical Advisor of MCH-CS, stated this during a Roundtable Dialogue on Maternal and Child Health in Kaduna State, between government and CSOs organized by MCH-CS in collaboration with with all the CSs working around health sector in the state supported by Save the Children International.

“CSOs are an important part of health programs. They are catalysts that stimulate change through strengthening and holding institutions and decision-makers accountable for better health outcomes.

“They engage policy-makers and promote prioritization of needed services and improved MNCH/health sector funding.

“They are therefore crucial to getting the state to deliver high impact and high quality MNCH intervention packages under routine conditions; at scale and for longer periods of time”. He explained.

Dr. Tanko, said Kaduna State data on MNCH, is still very negative despite all efforts being put in place, a more reason the CSs need to gear up in making sure government delivers on it’s responsibilities, saying “Kaduna has the highest neonatal mortality rate in Nigeria, with 63 deaths per 1,000 live births but Zamfara has 33 deaths per 1,000 live births.

“Kaduna is the fourth State with highest infant mortality rate in Nigeria, with 97 deaths per 1,000 live births but Zamfara has 66 deaths per 1,000 live births.

“Kaduna is the sixth State with highest Under-5l mortality rate in Nigeria, with 187 deaths per 1,000 live births but Zamfara has 130 deaths per 1,000 live births”.

He therefore called on all CSs working in Kaduna to continue to build capacity to carry out advocacies on MNCH and other health issues including Service Charter. Serve as committed and passionate change agents for MNCH programmes. Create opportunity for stronger collaboration at the state, LGA and community levels.

“Improve networking and information sharing between and among CSOs and partners, continuous evidence-informed advocacy and engagement at all levels by CSOs. Participate in platforms and mechanisms that strengthen roles and capacity of communities, local actors and relevant partners. Focus on communities to drive social change and address social determinants of MNCH among vulnerable groups”. He added.

He further stated that CSOs partnerships have proven to be a very efficient approach to attaining health goals especially for MNCH, contribute to the sustainability of health programmes and campaigns by ensuring that communities benefit maximally from their support.

The Technical Advisor, however observe that to ensure full sustainability of CSOs’ advocacy efforts, there is need for a long term plan focusing on capacity building, resource acquisition and formation of strong coalitions.

“Looking beyond the usual partnerships to engage private, corporate and other influential stakeholders like traditional leaders and faith organizations is critical but can be very challenging”. He said

Chairperson of MCH-CS, Dorcas Adeyemi, in her welcome address said the meeting was aimed at strengthening the relationship between the government and CSOs to ensure effective delivery of high quality and impactful Maternal Newborn and Child Health service in Kaduna State.

She added that sharing of the understanding on the critical roles of civil society in promoting quality MNCH services and accountability in Kaduna State and updates on key mandates and programmes of selected health sector MDAS and the exploration of areas collaboration in relation to MNCH advocacy and accountability were part of the reasons the meeting was put together.

CSOs present at the dialogue includes: Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM), Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SSUNN), Health Reform Foundation Of Nigeria (HERFON), Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC), Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM), Local Government Accountability Mechanism (LGAM), Know Your Budget (KYB), Family Health Advocates in Nigeria Initiative (FHANI), (KADSWAC) and Ward Development Committee (WDC).

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