Advocacy scores big for mothers & babies in county budget

The County Fiscal Strategy Paper (CFSP) is a critical budget document in Kenya at sub-national level. A CFSP underpins the county’s fiscal and budget framework by laying out strategic priorities and outlines a clear fiscal policy. At this stage, the county budget cycle is at a critical stage before approaching homestretch with approval by the County Assembly by April-May 2023.

This policy document released by the County Department of Finance and Economic Planning presents to the public what the sub-national government plans to do regarding revenue, expenditure, and debt management over the medium-term.  Importantly, it sets the sector and program resource ceilings that guide the budget estimates- including that of the department of health.

The Bungoma RMNCAH Network, a coalition of grassroots civil society organizations aims to improve key outcomes for women, girls, and babies’ health in Bungoma County. The coalition’s priority issues for advocacy have been to reduce high rates of teenage pregnancies, strengthen county referral system and increase utilization of Antenatal Care (ANC) services to 4 or more visits.

3 Key wins in the Bungoma CFSP 2023

At the beginning of February 2023, as a constitutional mandate the county government published plans to subject the CFSP 2023 for public participation. What followed immediately is the release of the CFSP 2023 to the public. A quick analysis by the Coalition showed that:

  1. In the Medium term, the health sector intends to implement the referral and ambulance strategy with one command center.  The county has proposed an allocation of KES. 70 million for procurement of 5 ambulances to be attached to five rural sub counties of Kabuchai, Sirisia, Cheptais, Webuye East and Kanduyi. It can be noted that Sirisia and Kanduyi are sub counties of focus for the Coalition.
  2. The county has gone ahead to propose an allocation of KES. 276,380,000 for Maternal and Child Health Services, up from KES. 87 million allocated in FY 2022/2023.
  3. The county has also proposed an allocation of KES. 30 million for equipping of blood donor center, one of the long-term advocacy priority issues for the Coalition.

During the public participation across Bungoma, advocates from Bungoma RMNCAH Network have presented memos defending these proposed allocations and bringing to the attention of the county of the need to also intervene along other priority issues like reduction of teenage pregnancy.

In coming months, our focus will shift to Members of the County Assembly (MCAs)- who hold a powerful role to approve budget proposals. The Coalition will follow up on the issues through the County Assembly committee of Budget and appropriation to ensure the proposals are approved- not allowing any chance that would reverse the gains made so far. 

Says a member of Bungoma RMNCAH Network.

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