Monday, 29th May 2023

‘Why we are strengthening health system, family planning’

By Tobi Awodipe
27 March 2022   |   2:44 am
The Lagos State government in partnership with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) has reiterated her commitment to strengthening the state’s health system, especially in the area of reproductive

African woman Family planning. PHOTO:

The Lagos State government in partnership with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) has reiterated her commitment to strengthening the state’s health system, especially in the area of reproductive health and family planning, promising easier access with little or no constraints for residents.

The State Reproductive Health Coordinator, Dr. Victoria Omoera, stated this at a two-day resource mobilisation and proposal development capacity building for members of various advocacy networks in the state.

Omoera, at the programme organised in collaboration with TCI, said it had become imperative to ensure members have the requisite knowledge and skills to become effective in the conduct of their activities to achieve desired results. 

Speaking further, she said the state has always and will continue to make budgetary allocation for family planning, because its significance to the development of the state is enormous, describing TCI as “partners in progress”.

She added that the state has also commenced the procurement of reproductive health commodities by itself in preparation for dwindling or outright end to private donations, so as to ensure the sector maintains its achievements and build on them as well.

Omoera also stated that government alone couldn’t do everything, “so we rely on our key stakeholders to help in propagating the importance of reproductive health and its socio-economic benefits as well to advocate for more resources in implementing high impact interventions.”

She disclosed that the state experienced disruption in family planning services at the advent of COVID-19, but were able to overcome the challenges through doggedness.

“We also trained healthcare workers on infection prevention and control to boost the confidence of our clients in the system.”

She hinted that the state has an operational plan for family planning, which serves as a template for both the state government and partners. “As a state, there is budget provision for family planning and I’m happy to say that some of the interventions whose partners have pulled out are being sustained by the state government. We continue to have dedicated funding for family planning.

“Going forward, as a state, we are looking at the procurement of commodities by ourselves because we know that the quantity of commodities we get is not as desired. But over the years, we have been able to ensure funding for capacity building, supportive supervision and coordination meetings, among others. We are now expanding our intervention to the private sector through the Lagos State Health Management Agency.”

She revealed that the state government’s partnership with TCI is highly appreciated, as it serves as a scale-up of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative project. “But the good thing about this project is that everybody comes together to decide the area for intervention, planning, implementation and evaluation.”

Speaking on the essence of capacity building, Program Manager, TCI, Dr. Olukunle Omotoso said that one of their main objectives is capacity building and systems strengthening. 

“We are committed to leaving behind a legacy that others can follow. We don’t just want to come and support programme intervention and leave people the same way they are. We’ve known for a state-led intervention whereby we allow government and Non-Government Organization to drive interventions in their own areas.”

He added that the relationship with the Lagos State government has been fruitful due to enabling environment, which has led to better health indices in the state.

“Our programme uses family planning to affect all reproductive health issues, we also work in the area of system strengthening. We know that in Nigeria, some of the systems have been weakened by a myriad of issues. So, we have come to support the state government in strengthening the system so that we can have a rewarding programme and the government can be able to respond to the needs of citizens in the area of family planning and reproductive health.”

In attendance were members of the Media Action for Public Health Initiative, Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative, Interfaith Public Health Advocacy Lagos, and Local Council Social Mobilization Committee Chairmen among others.

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