The White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria has called on the Niger State Ministry of Health to strengthen citizen-led accountability structures in the state Primary Health Care system.
WRAN, a civil society organisation advocating for improved service delivery for maternal, newborn and child health care, said this would serve as a means to curb the high maternal and child mortality rate in the state, improve utilisation of facilities and promote quality of care.
The Niger State Strategic Health Development Plan 2010-2015 had in a report estimated death figures at a staggering 130/100,000 live births, under five mortality of 103/100,000 and infant mortality of 260/100,000 live births.
The group’s National Coordinator, Tonte Ibraye, in a statement by WRAN Communications Officer, Adams Tariah, blamed the huge figures on the lack of awareness of citizens towards accountability mechanisms around them.
The statement read, “This trend can be steadied and reversed if citizens play a more active role in the health policy decision-making process, using existing channels to demand better health care services, identify problems and proffer solutions.”
To create this awareness, the group said it has collaborated the Niger State Ministry of Health and State Primary Health Care Development Agency in organising a one-day stakeholder meeting on citizen-led accountability in Minna, the state capital.
It added that the framework for the operation of Ward Health Development Committee, one of the structures responsible for driving citizen-led accountability in the PHC system, would be unveiled at the stakeholder meeting holding on 2nd May 2017 in Minna.
It said, “One of such structures responsible for driving citizen-led accountability in the PHC system is the Ward Health Development Committee.
“The WHDC was set up to improve community ownership of health projects, promote community action for health and act as a link between the government (policy makers) and the citizens. The WHDC is made up influential persons within communities with a passion for promoting health care service delivery. Part of their responsibility includes supervising health care providers, data management, and fiduciary roles in the meeting of their wards. They are also mandated to meet monthly with members of their communities to discuss challenges faced at PHC facilities, proffer solutions and give feedback to the government (policy makers). But they operate sub-optimally as a result lack of knowledge of their roles and responsibility and the power they wield.”
The meeting will be chaired by the Hon. Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mustapha Jibril.