WAVA made a strong representation at the high-level, one-day legislative retreat on immunization, health sector financing and the national health act, organized by the National Immunization Financing Task Team (NIFT) on October 29, 2016 at the Le Meridian Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The retreat ended with a strong consensus on several key issues which was presented in a communique. Three core items stood prominently which demanded:
- That the House of Representatives shall work with their counterparts in the Senate to ensure the allocation of adequate funds for health particularly immunization, family planning, nutrition and MNCH services in the 2017 budget.
- That the House of Representatives Health Committees shall work with CSOs to take necessary actions promptly to ensure budgetary allocation of not less than 1% CRF to finance the Basic Health Care Fund (BHCF) in the 2017 budget.
- That the FG shall increase the proportion of the annual budget allocated to the healthcare sector to 6% in 2017, 7.5% in 2018 until we attain the 15%, as agreed in Abuja Declaration, by 2026.
With a total of 79 attendees including 20 media organizations, the retreat was graced by the attendance of many influential parliamentarians and senior health sector officials including the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf; Dr M.Z Mahmud, Director of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA); Hon. Luke Onofiok, Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Dr Ben Anyene, NIFT chairman, and Dr Chizoba Wonodi, Nigeria Programs Lead, International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC).
The meeting which was widely acclaimed a huge success was highly engaging and received commendations from notable public figures including Hon, Muhammad Usman, Deputy Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Health Services, who said that the quality of the presentations were stellar and the resource persons were highly knowledgeable.
It is worthy to note the impact of the press, who ensured widespread dissemination of the retreat and its undertakings. Their reportage can be summarized under three themes. First they highlight the responsibility of the Executive in assuring adequate financing for health. Second they underscored that, for the first time, stakeholders have set concrete targets of annual increases in the proportion of the national budget allocated to health, with the goal of reaching the Abuja Commitment of 15% by 2026. Third, they note the NHIS’s resolve to clean up the database of beneficiaries to serve the public better.
Also in attendance were representatives of Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH), partners (HERFON, CHR, PSN, CS-SUNN, AAFP), ONE Campaign, Preston Health Consulting, dRPC, Center for Social Justice (CSJ), and Vaccine Network for Disease Control (VNDC).
The communique can be found HERE.