TCI Helps Nigerian States Advocate and Leverage Funds Available for Family Planning
Contributors: Obasesam Edet, Uduak Ananaba, Kachi Ewe, and Philemon Yohanna
The Challenge Initiative (TCI) scales evidence-based family planning and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health interventions through a demand-driven partnership with ready, willing and able local governments. TCI knows that political commitment is key to scale up and sustainability. As a result, local governments must contribute financial and human resources to implement TCI’s proven approaches and demonstrate their commitment.
In Nigeria, TCI engages states in a number of resource mobilization strategies to ensure this political and financial commitment. First, TCI helps establish and/or strengthen Advocacy Core Groups (ACGs), which are independent from government and serve as policy watchdogs. ACGs help:
- Increase funding for family planning by advocating for a family planning-specific budget line
- Ensure accountability for timely release of budget commitments
- Serve as a financial mechanism for good stewardship of resources
As a result, all 10 TCI-supported states now have dedicated budget lines for family planning at the Ministry of Health. For example, TCI’s advocacy efforts led the Abia State government to budget 200 million Naira ($560,000 USD) for family planning interventions in its 2019 budget – the first time in its history that the state dedicated funds to family planning. Before TCI came to Abia in June 2018, family planning was not considered high priority, partner support for family planning was negligible when compared with other reproductive health issues and the state’s Family Planning Unit planned activities totally dependent on partner funds.
TCI also encourages ACGs to look for other potential sources of funding that can be leveraged. The Primary Health Care Agency family planning budget was a major source of domestic funding for TCI activities this past year. In addition, many states leveraged other funding sources, including the Nigerian government-supported Saving One Million Lives (SOML), the Nigeria Health Social Investment Project (NSHIP), as well as allocations/derivations from Internally Generated Revenue. For example, in Rivers State, the current SOML budget for implementing family planning interventions increased 129% while 4.3 million Naira (about $12,000 USD) was allocated for family planning under the State Primary Healthcare Board through the 5% LGA derivation fund.
Other examples of leveraging SOML include:
Adopting TCI’s Social Mobilization Approach in Anambra State
In 2018, SOML in Anambra State deployed volunteers to conduct routine social mobilization, but did not see notable results in terms of linking clients to health facilities. SOML then decided to collaborate with TCI to conduct social mobilization activities in Anambra State with TCI’s coaching and guidance. Under the terms of the collaboration, TCI will provide technical support to the social mobilizers while SOML will provide funding for the mobilizers’ activities. In addition, TCI will fund the training of social mobilizers in seven TCI-supported LGAs, while SOML will fund the training of social mobilizers in the 14 LGAs not covered by TCI. This adoption of TCI’s social mobilization strategy is significant because it will ensure statewide coverage of social mobilization activities for maximum spread of family planning information.
Procuring Essential Family Planning Equipment After Engaging with TCI
TCI helped Plateau State coordinate partners for the state’s Annual Operational Plan Review meeting where policymakers and partners were sensitized on the need for increased funding for family planning in the state. During this meeting, TCI presented findings from its facility surveys that revealed that a number of facilities lack family planning equipment among other issues. SOML then stepped up to contribute funds to procure family planning equipment.
The Plateau State SOML Manager, Dr. Philemon Dagwa PhD, invited stakeholders from the State Ministry of Health, Plateau State Primary Health Care Board (PSPHCB) and TCI to inspect the equipment procured in partnership with the Plateau State Primary Healthcare Development Board in various health facilities providing family planning services in the state.
“These equipment is worth over 12 million Naira and was a result of the engagement with the Portfolio Director of the Nigerian CCP portfolio Dr. Mojisola Odeku and the State TCI team during the Annual Operation Plan, said Dagwa. “The equipment is scheduled for distribution this quarter to support the provision of quality service delivery in the State.”
The purchase of equipment by SOML is significant because it shows that with coaching support and guidance, SOML funds can be tapped for family planning. This investment in essential equipment extends beyond improving the state’s ability to deliver quality family planning services but also ensures the delivery of quality maternal and child health services.