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Health ministry holds consultative feedback forum

By Editor
16 December 2009   |   10:00 pm
THE Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), represented by the Health Minister, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, will today hold a consultative forum with the people of Lere Community in Lere Local Government of Kaduna State.

The forum, according to a press release signed by the Special Assistant to the Health Minister on Media/Communications, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, will put the minister as the number one image maker of the ministry in direct contact with the critical mass of citizens that the ministry is designed to serve.

Ojuolape said: “This will provide an opportunity for the minister to bridge bureaucratic gaps of conventional government/official communication channels and explain the ministry’s policy direction to everyday citizens who ideally rarely have access to serving policy makers and civil servants. In the same vain the minister will get first hand feedback from the people on how they are negotiating and performing their lives daily especially as it concerns the access they have or do not have to basic health care services. This we believe will build public trust in the activities of the ministry on the one hand while it will also make the ministry more responsive, transparent and accountable with public information on the other hand.

The forum is also designed to be an accountability platform that brings together a community and its principal elected public office holders to continuously examine the state of health care services in the community.

“The consultative feedback forum will take the form of an informal focused group discussion (FGDs). Hence it will be driven by a given theme or related themes. The focal theme will be sourced from evidence-based information about key health indicators in the state hosting the forum in a given quarter.

The Lere forum will thematically be driven by figures generated by the health promotion unit of the FMOH showing that in 2008, less than 20 per cent of women in Kaduna State delivered in a hospital. The forum in a direct response to this figure will foreground maternal and child health issues as a key thematic focus along with its related issues of water and sanitation and malaria.”

The minister will be joined at the forum by other range of policy makers, the religious and traditional institutions in the community. The forum will aim to achieve open frank talk between these key policy makers and citizens who are at the receiving end of policies.

At the end of discussions the minister will agree points of action with the community. The realisation of such outcome will be jointly undertaken by the ministry, the commissioner of health in the state, the local government chairman and the elected members of the national and state house of assemblies, representing Lere and the community.

A follow up process will be developed and handed over to the commissioner for health in the state to follow up on the realisation of set outcomes and possibly go on to replicate the entire process in other parts of the state. The event will be recorded and broadcast nationwide on television and radio.