Accountability groups driving changes in maternal & newborn health

Monday, 3 Apr 2017
Our Evidence for Action-MamaYe programme is working in three states across Nigeria (Bauchi, Gombe and Lagos) to strengthen accountability through ‘SLAMs’ – State-Level Accountability Mechanisms.

SLAMs comprise government, media, health professional associations and civil society networks and are made up of sub-committees on Evidence, Advocacy, and Knowledge Management and Communication. These committees produce evidence materials and advocacy briefs that are communicated to the government and the public, to influence decisions on maternal and newborn health interventions.

In 2016, the Bauchi State government announced it would allocate 15% (and 16% in 2017) of its budget to health. It was a strong indication that the SLAM that we helped to establish had worked. The Bauchi State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (BaSAM) was highly influential in the advocacy activities that led to this achievement, which meets the Abuja Declaration target.

E4A-MamaYe is now looking to replicate this success in Gombe State, where the maternal mortality ratio is high at 1,002 per 100,000 live births. Like BaSAM, the Gombe State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (GoSAM) is made up of CSOs, government representatives from the Ministry of Health, State Primary Health Care Development Board, Hospital Management Board, Professional Bodies and the media.

E4A-MamaYe is supporting the Advocacy sub-committee of GoSAM through workshops on capacity development in evidence-based advocacy. Their aim is to push policy boundaries and create more opportunities to improve the health of pregnant women and newborns.

The MamaYe Campaign Lead, Fola Richie-Adewusi, who was the lead trainer at a recent workshop, is hopeful that GoSAM will be able to improve maternal and newborn health. She said, “The participants were not only vibrant but also fun, and they showed a great level of enthusiasm and commitment to put the knowledge gained to work.”

Twenty one CSO members attended the workshop, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Health, the National Orientation Agency, the media and the office of the first lady of Gombe State.

Zariyatu Abubakar is the Executive Director at Wildan Care Foundation in Gombe, and chairperson of the Advocacy sub-committee of GoSAM.  She said, “The workshop is strategic and timely to the work that we have been doing. With MamaYe, we will be able to go a long way in a short period of time. I am sure that we will affect a lot of positive changes in maternal and newborn health in Gombe State”.

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