Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Africa have called on governments across the continent to establish agencies to boost preparedness for future public health emergencies.
They made the call on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at the Africa Regional Advocacy Summit for NGOs and Media held in Abuja
The Summit with the theme: Capacity Building, Peer Learning and Exchange on Accountability for Domestic Resource Mobilization for Health Security and Systems in Africa had in attendance participants from Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Health Economist & Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist of AHBN, Maimuma Abdullahi highlighted the objectives of the Summit to include: “Enhancing the capacity of delegates on budget analysis, budget
advocacy, accountability, and transparency for Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) in relation to health security.
‘Promoting peer learning and exchange among country delegates on
Accountability for Domestic Resource Mobilisation for Health Security
and Systems in Africa.
“Revising and adopting country work plans based on the project subgrants agreements”.
Abdullahi said the project was funded by Ford Foundation through Africa Health BudgetNetwork (AHBN) in eight targeted African countries to promote accountability for COVID-19 and equitable access recovery.
She lamented that accountability for Covid-19 funds remained a big challenge as well as inadequate access to public information regarding the government’s
Covid-19 spending, and financial support for Covid-19 through global and
regional financial institutions and donors.
She also disclosed that the aim of the Summit was to strengthen accountability for COVID-19 Finances & Vaccine Access in Africa adding that, the amount earmarked and provided so far was $200,000 in the eight countries.
Addressing the recurrent issue of lack of accountability in health sectors, Chairman, National Advocacy for Health (NA4H), Hon. Mohammed Usman noted that, the challenge was judicious use of resources, he said it was worrisome that, while CSOs were advocating for more funding of the sector, due to lack of judicious use, of the resources, unused funds were being returned to the national treasury.
Usman further stated that leakages needed to be blocked to improve Nigeria’s health system.
On his part, Project Officer for Health Alert Serria Leone (HASIL), David Aliyu, said, “for my country, what we need is setting up of one-stop agency that will be addressing emerging diseases in the country and strengthening the health service delivery with resources and funding, government should put more funding.
“As it is, we have not reached the Abuja Declaration which is calling for 15% but we are around 11%, we are calling on the government to ensure that they put more resources into the health service delivery as they have done for education.
“We are calling on the government to at least reach the Abuja Declaration that they signed, also, we are calling on government and donor partners to collaborate with community structures as fighting diseases required everybody’s engagement”.
“Furthermore, we need the Government and International donors to pay attention to surveillance and setting up of a one-stop agency at every country level to ensure that we address the surveillance and emerging diseases”.
Similarly, delegates from Uganda and Kenya also complained that due to a lack of accountability frameworks, a good percentage of money budgeted for the health sector ends up in private pockets.
These funds, they queried could have been channeled into revamping the sector.