The Coordinator of Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr. Aminu Garba Magashi, has stressed the need for regular dialogue between the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria.
This, according to him, will enable the PSC have access to the needed support and ideas from the many CSOS in Nigeria in its COVID-19 response and that it will also promote accountability and transparency.
Dr. Magashi stated this when the National Advocates for Health (NA4H), led by its Chairman, Hon. Usman Muhammad, paid a courtesy visit to the PSC Coordinator, Dr, Muktah Mohammad, in his office, in Abuja, recently.
Dr. Magashi explained that the visit was to assist the PSC see the value of engagement with CSOs concerning response to health security issues and in fashioning innovative financing for health.
He noted that the regular meeting will enable both parties get feedback on the proposed accountability framework developed by CSOs to ensure alignment with priorities and also help in joint advocacy to the Accountant-General of the Federation to sustain effective resource accountability and utilization.
Speaking, the Coordinator of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr, Muktah Mohammad, called on CSOs in the country to support the government in monitoring the disbursement of the $90m World Bank facility given to states for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project.
The PSC Coordinator, however, lamented that the COVID-19 stimulus package allocation had not been fully accounted for, noting that each state was expected to have received N1 billion.
He further reiterated the need for CSOs to monitor closely the US$ 90 million direct support to states from the World Bank (WB) with US$ 70 million to be disbursed in 2021.
The PSC, according to him, would address accountability issues on the COVID-19 response before the end of its tenure in December 2021 and that it would work with the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure, at least, there are two to three functional oxygen plant in each state of the federation.
Dr. Muhammad further advised CSOs to work closely with the private sector in order to know the status of resources they have raised for the COVID-19 pandemic and the equipment procured under CACOVID to know whether they have been handed to the states as planned.
While commending the NA4H for the visit, the PSC Coordinator said that
prevention of the COVID-19 through surveillance was a key area to address the spread of the disease.
Earlier, the Chairman of the NA4H, Hon. Usman Muhammad, said that
the purpose of the visit was to intimate the PSC leadership on the roles of CSOs in tackling COVID-19 at the national and sub-national levels.
He reiterated that the visit was further aimed at finding ways of building and strengthening partnership between CSOs and the PSC.