Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) has urged Federal Government to implement the Reproductive,
Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) COVID-19 Response Continuity Plan.
The Coordinator of the network, Dr Aminu Magashi, made the call while responding to questions from newsmen in Abuja on Friday.
The AHBN boss, which is a regional group that uses budget advocacy to influence adequate health spending and improve transparency, said
that the plan, which had the capacity to turn around the health status of Nigerians needed more government attention.
He explained that “the RMNCAEH+N COVID-19 Response Continuity Plan is to ensure uninterrupted health services, including family planning,
adolescents and youth health and other essential health services to all Nigerians to avert negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The plan is well articulated and has the capacity to touch many lives.
“Even though we have less than 12 months left for full implementation of the plan, we are optimistic that if all hands are on deck, a lot of progress can be achieved.
“Notwithstanding, we must remember that this is a pre-election year and there is need for urgency in its implementation. Stakeholders have a huge role to play to ensure that the plan is implemented to the latter.”
He noted that the plan, developed in 2020 with an estimated cost of N12 billion, has less than 12 months to expire.
He said, “a cursory look at the various items in the plan shows that health promotion and public awareness will gulp over N4.5 billion; health
workforce/capacity-building will consume over N1.5 billion, while over N3 billion will be spent on procurement, logistics and supply chain management.”
He recalled that during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the then Presidential Task Force (PTF), currently the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19,
developed the National Multi-sectoral COVID-19 Response Plan.
He said the response had responsibilities assigned to relevant line ministries and parastatals in which the Federal Ministry of Health led the health sector component of the plan.
“The Federal Ministry of Health further developed an Integrated Federal Health Sector COVID-19 Response Plan.
“The comprehensive health sector response plan prioritised some health service packages which the RMNCAEH-N plan is formed to operationalise and address the challenges.
“The services include routine immunisation; reproductive health services; care during pregnancy and childbirth; essential care for newborn children, young infants and under-five children, adolescents; older adults and the elderly,” he explained.
Magashi, who said he was concerned that such laudable initiative would provide care and essential services to vulnerable segments of Nigerians, solicited for full implementation.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to make every effort to ensure adequate provision of RMNCAEH+N services in all parts of the country to reduce illnesses and deaths.
He also called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the media and other critical stakeholders to support the government to implement the RMNCAEH+N COVID-19 response plan.