By Dan-Maryam Zayamu
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in the health sector, have advised the Federal Government to consider extending the life-span of the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) recovery plan so that it can achieve its objectives.
They gave the advice in a statement in Abuja, yesterday.
The advice, according to the statement, was premised on the fact that the RMNCAEH+N recovery plan has potentials of improving and transforming the health of Nigerians including children, mothers, elderly and also improve the nutrition of many if executed to the later.
It would be recalled that the RMNCAEH+N plan was developed in 2020 with an estimated cost of 12,190,045,688 billion naira with the aim of mitigating the indirect impact of COVID- 19, as well as prioritise and maintain the provision of RMNCAEH+N services such as routine immunisation, reproductive health services, care during pregnancy and childbirth, essential care for new-born, young infants and under-five children, adolescents, older adults and the elderly.
The RMNCAEH+N COVID-19 response continuity plan was put together to ensure uninterrupted health services including family planning, adolescents and youth health, and other essential health services to all Nigerians, in order to avert the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CSOs, however, called for more efforts on the part of the federal government to ensure that more is achieved within the next two months before the expiration of the first phase of the plan.
“The federal government has done well in its efforts to ensure that the plan achieve its targets. Even though 2 months to the expiration of the Plan, we have to remain optimistic that more will be achieved if the government puts more effort.
“I, therefore, call on the federal government to consider extending the plan considering its importance to the health sector and the health of Nigerians. The plan, if executed to the later, will bring dramatic change and improvement of our health sector. The government should not make the mistake of discarding the plan. This administration may not achieve the RMNCAEH+N target 100 per cent, however, since government is a continuum, I suggest that the plan should be sustained so that the next administration can continue with it.
“It is however, important to stress here that the government needs to increase its momentum in the implementation of the RMNCAEH+N plan so that we can achieve like 80 per cent of the target before the expiration of this first phase,” says Dr. Aminu Magashi, Coordinator, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN).
The CSOs further expressed deep concern that the execution of the plan may be affected by the electioneering campaign running towards to the 2023 election which has since begun.
The statement, however, quoted the Chairman, National Advocates for Health (NA4H), Mohammed Usman, as advising lawmakers at all levels to show interest in the plan, as it has the capacity to improve the lives of their constituents.
“The legislators should be interested in the 100 per cent implementation of the RMNCAEH+N plan because it concerns the people across board including both the poor and the rich in both rural and urban areas.
“I, therefore, call on the legislators to join in mounting pressure on the government to allow for the continuation of the RMNCAEH+N plan after its expiration in the next 2 months,” Hon. Usman, stressed.