by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
An NGO known as ‘Lafiya,’ with the task to support and promote private and public health facilities for the benefit of the poor and vulnerable, will partner with Kaduna State Maternal New-born and Child Accountability Mechanism, KADMAM.
Lafiya program, supported by UKAID and Department for International Development DFID, is to work with civil society organization, CSOs to get the government to prioritize health, increase allocation and release budget to improve all health indices.
Speaking during an interview with newsmen at the end of a one-day meeting with KADMAM members, the State team leader of Lafiya, Dr. Sikiratu Kailani Amadu, said the program, which started in February, is still at the inception stage.
Dr. Amadu said, during inception period, Lafiya worked towards identifying the base-line and liaising with KADMAM, which was very key because of the outcome of work with the civil society.
“You want to know what is the base-line of your intervention. Liaising with KADMAM is very key because one of our outcomes is to work with the civil society organizations, to get the government to prioritize health by increasing the allocation and releases of budget to ensure that all our health indices improve.
“We will be working with the civil society organizations to get the government to be more committed and to prioritize health. KADMAM is a vibrant group, and we believe that with them being involved, we can achieve the goal of getting the government to be more accountable and to prioritize health.”
Also in an interview, Malam Mustapha Jumare, the coach of KADMAM, said “The mechanism has been put in place since 2015, and we have been working on health and, generally speaking, we have been working on budget relayed to health in terms of services that we do offer, and some other activities that are done under health.”
He also said that the meeting was a very interesting one because KADMAM members were focusing their meeting on how to integrate all other areas like nutrition, education, water sanitation and hygiene, employment and human development.
“All put together into one, and it is very good that the Lafiya Program, which is a DFID program, is coming to support Kaduna state, and they also want to join with the civil societies so that civil societies will help in supporting the government by monitoring and also doing some extra advocacy to improve those areas earlier mentioned.
“But before now, we are only working on health; this time they want us to capture other areas. Already, there are other civil society organizations that are working on these areas; so, very soon we will start working with these COSs so that we can see how we can map out ourselves to work and improve so as to support the government together.
“The government has a human capital development council, which Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Hajiya Hadiza Balaraba, is chairing, and we will start working with them very soon so that we will see how we are going to improve because we were initially working on health, but now we want to join in these areas,” he said.
On their assurance in the area of accountability, Jumare said already Kaduna is an accountable state because the state has joined in the Open Government partnership, adding that the concept of open government partnership is to talk about accountability, transparency, “and we are very happy with the new development of integrating into these areas.
“In the areas of challenges, we are faced with problem of cash backing, because there are releases that do not come on time, but you will find out at the end of the day, that cash backing is not there. For instance, in this year, from January to the month of June, only 19% has been allocated, which has been cash backed, and this is a big challenge.
“Another challenge is that of turnout from the civil societies, which is always poor, which is not very encouraging. So, we are using this forum to encourage all civil societies to always attend meetings,” he said.
Another area – Strategy Lead Accountability Mechanism, SLAM, the purpose of which is to understand more how the SLAM functions, strengths, challenges and opportunities in the future – was exhaustive looked into.