Information reaching us at this time is that the President Buhari led administration has released the humongous sum of $55.5m (NGN 17.4b) to 36 states and the FCT for the promotion of primary health care provision, with each of them getting $1.5m (NGN 471m). This is under the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) Projectof the World Bank.
Since the end of last year, the Follow The Money (FTM) team of Connected Development (CODE) has been tracking the release and deployment of the fund in Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), in local communities, in Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Kano, Kogi, Osun and Yobe States. Leveraging on the authority of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and to ensure transparency & accountability in the fund’s usage, the FTM team wrote the governors, and commissioners of health & finance of the aforementioned states, to provide the costed work plan of the $1.5m implementation. However, at this time, only Yobe State has provided this information.
On learning about the fund’s release, Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of Connected Development and Co-Founder, Follow The Money said: “This is a beautiful development, outstandingly the fact that this was from the President himself. There has been extensive ambiguity, confusion, secrecy and contradicting reports about this fund. So tracking it has been really difficult for us. At a time, none of the concerned institutions, particularly the Ministry of Finance could give us information about states that have received the fund and those that have not. Even the Ministry of Health’s SOML department, could not provide us with this detail.”
With this information, we are properly armed to go after the costed work plan using the FOI Law and President Buhari’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) compact from the concerned governmental institutions in the states and use our strategies to ensure transparency & accountability in the implementation of the fund as it impacts local communities across the country.
Lawal further stated, “Primary healthcare provision has been in an unacceptable state in the country. In our experience in championing rehabilitation of PHCs across the country, most of them lack water supply, electricity, security, skilled birth attendants, equipments, and toilets. We are optimistic that the efficient use of this fund will help in equipping the PHCs and in providing skilled labour force in them.
The fund would do so much in terms of maternal mortality rate reduction in the country. This will also help in changing people’s lives, particularly the locals in rural communities.
We call on the governors and concerned institutions of Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Kano, Kogi and Osun States to provide us with their costed work plan. We also call for transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in the use of this fund.”
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