The Niger State Technical Working Group on Child Spacing (CS-AWG) said that out of the N250 million allocated to family planning (FP) in 2018, 2019 and 2020, only about N17.5million has been released from 2018 till date. The 17.5million released was from the Saving One Million Lives project (SoML) and an additional N2 million was released to the FP unit through the SoML, indicating that FP activities in Niger State depends largely on partners’ funding.
The chairperson of the TWG Group – Mrs Serah Zegi disclosed that FP activities in Niger State are largely surviving at the mercy of partners in the State. While appreciating the CCRHS-PAS’ s support towards ensuring that the CS-AWG meet to deliberate on issues around Family Planning and charting ways to improve Child Spacing programming, funding and policy implementation, she called for the inclusion of religious leaders in their meetings and also in their advocacy activities.
She then presented activities carried out by the CS-AWG in the last months of operation. Some of the activities carried out by the CS-AWG are:
- Creation of awareness on child spacing to Niger State populace to increase demand for FP,
- Advocacy visits to some principal stakeholders on improved funding to FP, coordinated high level stakeholders’ forum on FP.
- Advocacy to government stakeholders to prioritize focus on Adolescent Reproductive Health and community sensitization/mobilization of community/traditional leaders to support child spacing.
In her speech, the State FP coordinator – Mrs Dorcas Abu stated that the challenges around FP hinged largely on lack of effective domestic funding allocation and releases. According to her, FP does not have a specific budget line recognized at the State Planning Commission. She also highlighted the lack of logistic support to undertake outreaches and inadequate funding in general.
Other stakeholders called for timely releases of allocated funds to support FP services in the State. Mrs. Mary Bawa, a member of the CS-TWG said, “the stakeholders’ forum was an opportunity to deliberate on issues affecting FP funding and programming in Niger State”. One of the factors impeding Family Planning fund releases was largely hinged on capacity of the Programme officers on memo writing and promptness of submission of memos by the respective program officers which one of the directors’ present admitted to.
In his remarks, Rev. Emmanuel, stated that the lack of a dedicated budget-line for FP is greatly impeding on the releases to FP in Niger State.
The representative of the DPRS department of the State Ministry of Health, also relayed that part of the problems faced was the inability of the Programme officers to include a budget breakdown of their requests in the memos sent to the State Planning Commission, as well as lack of intermittent follow-up by the officers to the State Planning Commission and lateness in submission. He also noted that FP program officers need to know how to itemize a breakdown of their requests.
The outcome of the CS-TWG meeting was the development of a Strategy plan created to advocate and achieve a budget line for FP to address the issue of the funding shortages.