By Bashir Hassan Abubakar
In an effort to keep Bauchi State stakeholders in health sector abreast on how Covid 19 pandemic has affected other health care services especially that, which centres around Maternal, New-born and Child Health (MNCH), the Bill and Millender Gates Foundation funded intervention in the state, titled Evidence 4 Action Mamaye Program (E4A) has disseminated findings in a study they conducted in that regard.
Presenting the findings on the study, Mamaye’s junior evidence advisor Ali Bwala said the study was conducted in three areas to ascertained how Covid 19 has affected MNCH service delivery in Bauchi state.
He itemized three main study areas that focuses on: 1.Effect of Covid 19 Pandemic on the financing and utilization of Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (RMNCH) in Bauchi state, 2. Keeping MNCH on the agenda and analysis of increased evidence based dialogue between CSOs and the Government and 3. How Covid 19 affects MNCH utilisation and outcomes in three states of Bauchi, Lagos and Niger.
Invited guests were taken through the objectives, methodology, limitations, challenges and recommendations of the studies that were opened for discussions, questions and contributions.
Participants during the dissemination meeting all agreed that Covid 19 has affected services around MNCH in Bauchi negatively, especially the fluctuating pattern of women attending antenatal care and delivery at healthcare facilities, due to fear of contracting the dreaded Covid 19.
Participants equally agreed with the study findings that showed how Covid 19 had negatively affected budget allocations and releases to some key components of MNCH like nutrition and family planning services.
The study findings, conducted through qualitative and quantitative methods, also highlighted how Covid 19 slowed BaSAM’s engagement with relevant MDAs and other stakeholders due to restrictions of movement that limits physical meetings.
Part of the recommendations captured by the study findings as presented by Mr. Bwala suggested that, to ensure that a coalition advocates are effective, active participation of government stakeholders is important, as they can provide valuable resources to the entire coalition to use in holding government accountable for RMNCAH issues in the state.
Another recommendation further stressed that relationships between government and CSO members of BaSAM must be cordial for effective engagement towards a common course or purpose.
The study findings also recommends that Bauchi State government need to ensure that funds for improving MNCH services can be mobilized locally in addition to federal allocations, to ensure there is enough funding to address priority issues.
The study findings also highlighted that dialogue between government stakeholders and CSOs has generated positive outcomes on MNCH in Bauchi State.
It also maintained that the Coalition has helped in getting the Bauchi State government to put more funds into the health sector through the 15% Abuja declaration allocation of state budget to the health sector, even though releases has been a challenge.
It could be recalled that at inception in 2012, E4A program, being implemented by Options Consultancy , midwife a coalition known as Bauchi State Accountability Mechanism for maternal, new-born and child health (BaSAM) and is supporting it to use evidence-based advocacy to influence policy makers to increase MNCH-related budgets within the state health budget. BaSAM membership were drawn from relevant government MDAs, CSOs and the media.
Our correspondent, who was part of the dissemination meeting, reports that the meeting attracted participants from relevant government MDAs, BaSAM members, WHO and other partners who all pledged their commitment in supporting the coalition’s activities towards improved service delivery in RMNCH in Bauchi state.