Lagos seeks civil society’s collaboration on health advocacy
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said that government at all levels need the collaboration of civil society groups to implement and fulfill all envisioned policies and programmes aimed at improving the health conditions of the masses.He, therefore, praised the Partnership For Advocacy in Child and Family at Scale (PACFAH@Scale) for its advocacy in the area of child and family health in the state.
According to him, for government to live up to public expectation, non-governmental organisations like PACFAH@Scale must constantly engage public officials, noting that “sometimes, we can be disconnected due to the pressure of office but this kind of interaction brings us back to ground zero.”
Abayomi spoke when a delegation from PACFAH@Scale, a network of Nigerian civil society organisations working to catalyse the federal and state governments to make adequate provision for child and family health in Nigeria, paid him a courtesy visit at his Alausa Secretariat office.
In her speech, leader of the delegation, Mrs Lola Alonge, said Lagos State was the pacesetter in child and family health in the country, noting that it has the highest percentage (80 per cent) of women delivering by skilled birth attendants; the highest percentage (29 per cent) of women using modern family planning; the lowest per cent of children under five (1.7 per cent) with no vaccinations and the lowest percentage of children (0.4 per cent) with severe anaemia.
She, however, noted that there were still some challenges in the health sector, which the organisation is ready to support the state to overcome. She called for increased budgetary allocation to the health sector up to the 15 per cent benchmark; full and timely release of allocated budget to the health sector; increased funding for family planning and routine immunisation; and the re-introduction of Health Volunteer’s Scheme, among others.
The Commissioner, in his response, added that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu clearly understands the importance of primary health care and would work hard to improve the sector.