How is advocacy making the government respond to MNH issues?

More people are taking action to demand maternal and newborn health rights from the government.

We have seen success in certain states in Nigeria where the government is allocating more than 15% of their total budget to health. We take a look at how to work more to replicate the success in one state in another.

In 2016, breaking news that the Bauchi State government had allocated 15% (and 16% in 2017) of its budget to health excited us at MamaYe. It was a strong indication that the State-led Accountability Mechanism (SLAM) that we helped to establish had worked.

The SLAM is made up of sub-committees on Evidence, Advocacy, and Knowledge Management and Communication. These committees produce evidence materials and advocacy briefs that are communicated to the government and the populace, to influence decisions on maternal and newborn health interventions. 

The SLAM works in each State where MamaYe has maternal and newborn health interventions. In Bauchi State, the Bauchi State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (BaSAM) was highly influential in the numerous advocacy activities that led to the achievement of the allocation. It was more exciting because the allocation was an achievement of the Abuja Declaration.

They say one good turn deserves another. This is why we are positive about the possibility of replicating the Bauchi’s success in Gombe State through the SLAM, the Gombe State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (GoSAM).

Like BaSAM, GoSAM is made up of CSOs, government representatives from the Ministry of Health, State Primary Health Care Development Board, Hospital Management Board, Professional Bodies and the media.

With a 3-day evidence-based advocacy workshop, MamaYe is supporting the Advocacy sub-committee of GoSAM with capacity development in advocacy to push the policy boundary and create more opportunity for the improvement of the health of pregnant women and newborns. Maternal mortality ratio in Gombe State is high at 1002 per 100,000 live births.

The MamaYe Campaign Lead, Fola Richie-Adewusi, who was the lead trainer at the workshop, expressed glistering hope about GoSAM achieving success in improving MNH because the participants were not only vibrant but also fun, and they showed a great level of enthusiasm and commitment to put the knowledge gained to work.

There were 21 CSO members and representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Orientation Agency, the media and the office of the first lady of Gombe State.

Zariyatu Abubakar is the Executive Director at Wildan Care Foundation in Gombe. She is the chairperson of the Advocacy sub-committee of GoSAM. She said,

The workshop is strategic and timely to the work that we have been doing. With MamaYe, we will be able to go a long way in a short period of time. I am sure that we will effect a lot of positive changes in maternal and newborn health in Gombe State.

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