Determined to expand the space to discuss policy implementation, funding, and timely release of allocated funds on routine immunization in Kaduna and Kano states, PAS subgrantees in the 2 states initiated the Radio Health Talks on Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Kaduna, Vision FM, and ARTV to provide a platforms that will serve as a participatory platform where governments, professionals and CSOs meet to discuss current health policy challenges slowing the fulfilment of commitments to child and family health in the states.
In Kaduna State, the FRCN was selected because it has the widest reach in the northern geopolitical zone and is a preferred platform for the Governor of Kaduna state. The maiden edition of the health talk focused on Routine Immunization, themed around the World Immunization Week. The radio health talk hosted resource persons from the Kaduna State Primary Healthcare Board, and CSOs specifically the Assistant Director State Immunisation Officer, KSPHB, Malam Nasiru Abubakar, Professor Sani Garko, and Alhaji. Mustapha Jumare, Project Director IIGES-PAS.
Mal. Nasiru Abubakar, who spoke on behalf of government about interventions in the health sector said government has invested heavily in the 225 PHCs across the state and have continued to fund essential services despite the disruption of COVID-19 in the sector. He also disclosed plans by the state government to improve RI delivery services across all the local government councils in the state.
In his presentation, Professor Sani Garko provided expert medical practitioner’s context on the health concerns affecting citizens and the role for RI. He called on the state government to prioritize funding and timely release to protect children from the effect of childhood diseases. He also challenged parents to always take their children for routine immunization to protect them from health challenges associated with lack of immunization.
On his part, Mr Jumare presented the budget and data evidence generated by the Kaduna PAS Coalition to show how shortfall in allocation and releases are affecting effective RI services in the state. He, therefore, urged the state government not to relent and lose focus as pay lip service because of the COVID-19 emergency could retard the progress achieved in effective RI administration in the state.
A total number of twenty participants phoned in from various parts of the state and beyond the state to ask questions regarding the Routine immunization interventions in the state
PAS targeted and used the governor’s preferred radio station to successfully advocate and get commitments on timely releases of funds from government to fulfil policy and funding commitments.
Kaduna- PAS coalition to track implementation status of government’s Routine Immunisation intervention in the state
In Kano State, PAS coalition led by the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, FOMWAN-PAS held a radio and TV program on RI, discussion focused on the importance of RI for reducing child mortality and prevention of children incapacitation; prevention of infections such as HPV, Polio, Measles, tetanus etc. The radio program was held at Vision FM while the television program was held at ARTV.
Both the radio and TV program provided context on religious perspective on RI, the role of traditional and religious leaders in improving RI services uptake. The radio and TV station were selected for their reach and coverage. PAS partners FOMWAN-PAS resource persons were Hajiya Saa Hashim, Malama Fatima Abdu and Barr. Aisha Tijjani Aliyu.
The recommendations from the conversations were for the traditional leaders to improve the routine immunization defaulter tracking activities, conduct regular visits to health facilities to assess the service provision. Other recommendations for religious leaders were to sensitize parents to discharge their religious obligations in relation to the health of their children and for health workers, they should provide services in compliance with professional ethics. For the state, government should fulfil their commitments and sustain RI funding in Kano State and ensure timely release of RI Funds in Kano State
FOMWAN-PAS successfully provided religious backing/context for routine immunization to improve vaccines uptake and reduce drop outs as a result of religious reasons. Also advocating for timely releases of funds for RI services.
Support the capacity building of the traditional leaders on their role for improving RI in the state.