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CSOs mandated to monitor alleged Illegal fees, staff absenteeism in Kaduna PHC

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other partners in the health care sectors are mandated to, henceforth, monitor all the health facilities, following reports of alleged “illegal fees” being charged and “staff absenteeism” from duty post in the state.

Kaduna State’s Commissioner for Ministry of Health, Mrs. Amina Mohammed Baloni, gave the charge on Tuesday in an interview with newsman at the end of Multi-Stakeholders Accountability Forum organised by Kaduna State Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KAFMAM), tagged: #OpenKadunaHealthSector.

Earlier, the CSOs had presented facilities check reports alleging necessary incessant staffs’ absenteeism from duty posts and illegal fees charged on patients – even on government commodity and free-service delivery treatment, among others.

The commissioner explained that, the Multi-Stakeholders Accountability Forum on #OpenKadunaHealthSector is a quarterly forum they held with the civil society and community members in the state to access the state of the healthcare sector programme and reforms.

“The forum is what we do quarterly with the civil society and community members where they make their observation about what they see.

“What triggered this issue is that, we were getting reports from citizens that they were being charged some fees they didn’t understand, and we asked CSOs to carry out independent investigation, because, if our people do it, they’ll say, ‘nothing happens,’” she said. 

Mrs. Baloni added that, “They highlighted what was happening. But, as I said, you could see there is a misunderstanding on which is free service provided and which is not. So, we have to intensity awareness in all our facilities and spell it out clearly, so that when people come to the facilities, they will know what they’re getting. 

“Two, we also got to hear about some of issues that were raised; example, the issue of reduction in staff; but we’ve been able to establish that we have enough staffs. We need to hear from the civil society when staffs go or don’t go to work.

“We are in partnership for providing improved health service. We can only correct, if we get feedback about what we do that is positive – to be encouraged to do more, and negative – to correct or improve on it,” she stated.

On health budget allocation analysis, where there were conflicts, the health commissioner advised the CSOs to take the analysis in context, adding that budgets generally are estimation of what is intended to be spent during a period. 

Accordingly, she added, “An expenditure, therefore, is a function of how much money you get. Even though, we are not getting the kinds of money we need in a year because of the country’s economic situation, we have sent a supplementary budget to the State Assembly. 

“The supplementary (budget) will give us a more realistic picture of what we are getting as revenue and how much to spend. But, what I can assure you is that, the funds for services – people are paying salaries, people are giving overhead costs to make sure services run. 

“So, what we are doing now is to scale down on some of the projects because we’ve many facilities; we can’t do everything at the same time. We have decided to prioritize what will give impact to the people. What in every budget we should know is capital and re-current, and the CSOs analysis and presentation is concentrated on full budget,” she said.

Also, KADMAM, Perl, E4A Mamaye had earlier made opening remarks and delivered goodwill messages and also presented health budget performance scorecards for 2022, first and second quarters of the 2022, and tracking of  BHCF Utilization, among others.

The virtual/physical Multi-Stakeholders Accountability Forum was sponsored by Perl-Ecp, E4A-Mamaye, Lafiya Programme and Save the Children International, with a theme: ‘Bridging the financing gaps towards achieving universal health coverage for all residents of Kaduna State.’ 

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