We are Counting on FHANI for Cash backing of FP funds in Kaduna – UNFPA
By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
Following the continued delay in the cash backing of funds meant for the purchase of Family Planning (FP), commodities in Kaduna, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has said it is looking up to Family Health Advocates in Nigeria Initiative (FHANI), to push the government to act.
UNFPA’s Reproductive Health Analyst, Dr. Elvis Evborein, stated this in Kaduna at the weekend during a planning and coordination meeting for the implementation of UNFPA funded FP advocacy project, organised by FHANI.
Kaduna State government under former governor, Nasir el-Rufai had approved the sum of N250m Family Planning Budget for release for the procurement of FP commodities in 2021, but the fund is yet to be cash backed 2 years after.
In January 2023, the state government announced the domestication of the National guidelines for procurement of Family Planning Commodities, which was developed to guide States that have expressed willingness to begin State level procurement of family planning commodities in addressing the incessant stock out of the commodities in their State.
“We are relying on FHANI to and other stakeholders to help push the Kaduna State government to cash back the approved budget for family planning commodities.
“We know the importance of this funds if it is released, the availability of these commodities will not only protect the health of women and children by reducing high-risk pregnancies and allowing sufficient time between pregnancies, it will also help to improve productivity of the state.” He said.
Dr. Elvis, expressed regret that despite the fact that Kaduna was the first state in Nigeria to start the push for procurement of the commodities directly, the state government is yet to match her words with action by making the funds available, while other states are already implementing it.
He charged FHANI to push harder and get the required results before the end of 2023, so they can attract more funds for other activities.
The RH Analyst, noted that donors supporting the state are doing a lot, but that is not enough for the state because of the large population, calling on the government to prioritise the FP needs of her citizens.
In his opening remarks, Chairman of FHANI, Tijanni Bala Mohammed, said though the state made a lot of progress in 2022, but that the political situation in the country could be said to responsible for while the funds were not made available.
The Chairman who was represented by Benjamin Maigari, stated that the group has changed it advocacy approach in demanding for all the N250m to be cash backed at once because of the economic situation in country.
“Our advocacy strategy have changed, and we are no longer asking for all the money to be released at once, rather we want the government to break it down in bits to make it easier for them because we understand there are a lot of needs to be met.” He explained.
On her part, the FP Coordinator, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board, Haj. Nafisa Isa, revealed that lack of cash backing have led to stock out of contraceptive commodities and consumables at the health facilities.
She identified lack of prioritization of persons with disabilities in Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) programs as a another major challenge that needs to be urgently addressed.
According to her, “people with disabilities have the right to access information and services needed to support their choices and optimize health, right to decide the number and spacing of their children, right to consent to marriage and equality in marriage, right to be free from sexual violence and right to enjoy scientific progress and consent to experimentation”.
She called on FHANI and other stakeholders not to relent in their quest to ensure the government makes adequate provision in addressing family planning in the state.