From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Save the Children International (SCI) in partnership with select Kaduna-based civil society groups under Bill Gate Anchor IV project are pushing for citizens to prioritise health budgets both at the state and local government levels.
These partners said, for now, they are not pushing for increment in budgetary allocation for the health sector in Kaduna as the state already maintains the Abuja declaration of 15 per cent allocation.
They, however, want the health priorities of the citizens at the grassroots captured using a tool called Community Development Chartered (CDC) to form the annual operational plan (AOP) and health budget at local and state levels beginning with the 2022 budget.
Speaking at the sideline of a one-day capacity strengthening for the champions of the CDC across the 23 local government areas of the state, Advocacy and Campaign Assistant, SCI, Amabel Olukotun, noted that the platform believed in bottom-up approach increases the chances of getting more results when it comes to the health needs of the citizens.
‘We believe that to get the best result we need to start from the grassroots. This project Is centred around strengthening the health system including health financing.
‘With this orientation, when the participants return to their respective local council, aside from being aware of what to do and how to promote health-enhancing activities of people at the grassroots, it will be important for them to understand how items in the budget are developed for the need of the people in their communities so, at the end of the day, when the budget is implemented, the needs of every group in the society are met,’ she said.
Team Lead, Coalition of Association of Leadership Peace Empowerment and Development (CALPED) in Kaduna State, Yusuf Goje, described the partnership as a way forward for all citizens to have access to improved health services irrespective of their social status.
‘SCI has brought CDC champions from the 23 local government areas of the state. Ward engagement vocal persons who have been developing an annual operational plan for the health sector in Kaduna State are also here,’ he said.
‘We are here to ensure we link the CDC process with AOP in the health sector. What that means is that when we get the prioritise needs of community members from the local government, pull out health-related issues and put them into AOP of the local government and the State which will then form the health budget in these tiers of government.
‘So, we are to learn the rope as relate to legal framework, CDC process, health accountability mechanism and deepen our understanding of AOP so as 2022 budget begin, the citizens’ priorities will be what we inform the budget for the health sector,’ Goje explained.
SCI believes that beyond focusing on budgetary allocations particularly as it relates to accelerating human capital development, more attention should be paid to citizen participation and budget performance.