Women’s Day: Coalition calls for women friendly policies in the health sector

Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

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The Coalition of Women in the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale, PACFaH@ Scale Project have called on all tiers of government in the country to recognize the special needs of women as mothers and the main rights holders for child and family health.

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According to the organizations, as mothers and as the main support base of the Nigerian family, government must make adequate provisions for the health of the Nigerian women and girls.

They made the call on Monday in Ilorin the Kwara state Capital North Central Nigeria while commemorating the 2022 International Women’s Day Celebration.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Breaking the Bias’ Gender Equality Today for Sustainable Tomorrow”.

While addressing the Journalists, the leader of the organizations, who is also the Project Director , Women in Media,
Hajiya Halima Ben Umar commended the Federal and state Governments for developing, and launching new health policies with potentially positive implications for the health of women.

However, the women leaders of the various organizations expressed concern that in the face of a shrinking revenue base to government, the health needs of women are not being prioritized as there are no assurances of cash backing for the new policies and platforms.
According to her, the Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) multi-stakeholder partnership coordination platform and the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHRS) Community of Practice (COP) coordination platform to support the implementation of the National Family Planning Blueprint (2020-2024) in 2021.

She added that they are pleased to note the Federal government’s plans for Family Planning 2030 recommitment and the recent launch of the National Development Plan to 2025 as well as the National Population Policy.

The organizations disclosed that they remained concerned about the absence of committed funding and action plans to tease out and implement at community level, the women friendly components of these laudable initiatives.

Since the approval of the 2022 Annual Budget, the entire coalition of the PACFaH@Scale NGOs, made up of men and women, have pointed to two negative implications of the 2022 national budget for women. One is the sub-optimal funds allocated to the health sector which received the sum of ₦835.12 billion or only 5% of the national budget. This works out to be only N3,967 that the Federal government will spend for every citizen of Nigeria. Also, there is no budget line for family planning contraceptive commodities as was the practice and provision in the previous years. Sourcing for this funding outside a budget line is unsustainable” they lamented.

Against this background, she said the women in the PACFaH@Scale project, are calling on government to fund and implement women friendly policies in the health sector at the national level.

They also called on the Federal government to provide robust policy, monitoring and evaluation guidelines to states so that health sector at sub-national levels becomes the arena and shining star for gender equality in Nigeria.
Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, which as we all know, is Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) is an important goal that can be achieved in the health sector , Hajia Halima explained further.

She added however, that gender equality in the health sector can only become a reality if our Brothers and Fathers, who are in the majority as Nigerian policy makers, think about and remember each and every woman who make up Nigeria’s extremely high maternal death rate.

As they think about these women, who are our sisters, they must also recall existing national policies which link safe delivery and maternal health to health timing, child spacing, family planning”.

According to her, Nigeria’s policy commitment to integrated maternal health can only be achieved through a willful government effort to provide the leadership, adequate funding, implementation guidance and incentives, for responsive and cost-effective services to Nigerian women at their most vulnerable hour of need as mothers.

She commended the Kwara State Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman Abdulrazaq for appointing reasonable number of women in his cabinet and urged other state governors to emulate him.

We, the women leaders of civil society organizations in the PACFaH@Scale project are happy to celebrate all of the great achievements of Nigerian women on this 2022 International Women’s Day while addressing the inequalities faced by the women of this country.

Others that attended the News conference are, Dr Hadijat Olaide Raji, Representing the National President Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria;Dr Rahila Mukthar,Project Director – Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria Kano-PAS;Prof Rhoda Mundi,Population Association of Nigeria;Comrade Bunmi Lawal-Aiyedun,National Association of Pediatric Nurses of Nigeria; Pharm ljeoma Nwankwo,Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria

This year’s International Women’s Day is coming at a time when Nigerian women are crying for laws and policies to protect their rights to participate, and be included in equal measure into all aspects of sustainable national development – in political representation, in health and the economy.

The PACFaH@Scale project is committed to gender equality in the area of public health.

International Women’s Day is commemorated every year on the 8th of March to celebrate the achievements of women in the social, economic, cultural and political areas of society. In addition to celebrating the achievements of women,

International Women’s Day is also an important day for making calls to action to address the challenges and concerns faced by women.


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