Accountability Mechanism inaugurated to combat maternal, newborn deaths in Niger

By Tina George, Minna

In its bid to decrease maternal and newborn deaths in Niger state, Options Consultancy Services, E4A-MamaYe have launched a State-Led Accountability Mechanism for maternal and newborn child health. 

Inaugurating the Co-Chairs and Secretary of the State led Accountability Mechanism, the Niger state Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Muhammad Maikusidi, said the mechanism would help strengthen the monitoring and supervision of health sector and staff in the state. 

He further said that the accountability mechanism would address the problems bedeviling the health sector in the state as well as reduce the negative indices of the state in the health sector.

“We have the money and technical know-how but our indices are still high which is terribly unacceptable. This mechanism is in line with our plan to reposition the health sector in the state. It shows that these groups are concerned with how government money and properties are managed and we appreciate it.”

Maikusidi then urged Civil Society Organizations and Development Partners in Niger state to synergize and collaborate with the state government to enable the state health sector to move forward. 

The Niger state Advisor, Options Consultancy Services, E4A-MamaYe, Imo Chinasa Ude said that the accountability mechanism comprises of State Government officials, Civil Society Organizations, Partners, Community leaders, Media, and other health professionals.

She explained that the mechanism will collaboratively identify health priority issues affecting women and children in Niger state and engage in activities geared towards addressing Maternal and Newborn health. 

Chinasa further asserted that the reason for the accountability mechanism is to make civil society coalitions work in partnership with the government to ensure that resources used to improve the quality of health services across the continuum of care and the actors are held to account on their commitments.

“This is a multi-country programme that aims to improve the lives of women, mothers, and babies. In Nigeria, we have supported Ondo, Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Lagos, and Gombe states to translate complex health system data into simple formats easy to interpret and use to identify gaps in the health system, inform plans, resource allocation and expenditure. 

“We are expanding our support model into Niger state, with the objective of facilitating sustainable coalitions and partnerships to use evidence to identify local Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) priorities, and develop, influence and implement strategies to achieve progress against key outcomes. 

“We are supporting the setting up and functioning of state-led accountability coalitions to not only collect and package MNH data, but link these to financial flows, planning and budgeting processes, and ensure stronger advocacy and accountability.”

She expressed optimism that the state-led accountability mechanism will improve health outcomes in Niger State and Nigeria.