‘Follow The Money’ Pays Off For Lantewa And Kantudu Primary Healthcare Centres
The Yobe State Government have confirmed the complete renovation of the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) at Lantewa community of Tarmuwa Local Government Area; effectively reinstating the provision of maternal health delivery services which were suspended, and assuring first mile health service delivery to at least 2,000 children of Lantewa and the surrounding villages.
This development comes in the wake of continuous advocacy by Connected Development (CODE) through its well documented ‘Follow The Money’ — an initiative through which it consistently calls for transparency and accountability as a key part of social contracting between the government and communities by strengthening the capacities of communities to be involved in the monitoring and evaluation process of contracts awarded within the premises of such communities.
Follow the Money Yobe State team had been tracking the N420 million pool sum received by the Yobe State Government from the World Bank’s “Save One Million Lives” Scheme, to improve the healthcare system in the State; and discovered that it will be futile to retrain existing staff and employ more health extension staff to Lantewa, while the health facility is out of use. This prompted further investigations, which resulted in Tarmuwa Local Government Area confirming an award of a N15.17m contract to renovate the health facility and its staff quarters. Prior to the renovation work, the PHC at Lantewa was the only one out of 22 in Tarmuwa Local Government Area lacking maternal health delivery services, emergency transport, skilled birth attendants and other staffing needs, despite serving an estimated 5,000 people.
The World Bank’s Save One Million Lives Initiative Program-for-Results (PforR) Scheme for Nigeria aims at increasing the utilization and quality of high impact reproductive, child health, and nutrition interventions. The hope is that the PforR model will help save lives and increase transparency in management and budgeting for primary healthcare across Nigeria.
In a similar development, Kano State Government have begun renovations at the Kantudu Primary Healthcare Centre in Makoda Local Government Area; as confirmed by the community’s chief, Alhaji Muhammad Musa, to the Follow The Money team yesterday.
CODE’s Follow The Money had in 2016, begun tracking N137 million funding allocated for the renovation of 4 PHCs in Kano State, demanding transparency and accountability from the government. Now that work has begun at Kantudu, it is believed that upon completion, the facility will carter to the healthcare needs of 5,000 people across 13 surrounding villages.
First mile healthcare delivery in Nigeria is a challenge, with many PHCs often the victims of neglect, deterioration and ill maintenance largely attributed to poor funding and mismanagement. In recent years, Nigeria have continuously ranked high on the maternal and under 5 child mortality rates, most prevalent in peri-urban and rural parts of the country.
According to the CEO of CODE, Mr. Hamzat Lawal, the State Governments’ receptiveness towards implementing these projects now is commendable, however, immediate response to the call by the Follow the Money in 2016, would have had a significant effect in the reduction of maternal mortality and epidemics in the region.
Driven by the quest to bring about a more operational and open government, CODE set up Follow the Money initiative, to accurately verify and ensure public funds budgeted for developmental projects are being utilised for such purposes. This initiative is also committed to strengthening local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of citizens on how to hold their government accountable.