By Sola Ogundipe
THE governments of Ogun, Kano, Delta, Bauchi and Niger States have signed a letter of commitment with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) Nigeria, for implementation of The Challenge Fund Catalytic Grant aimed at providing technical and financial assistance in implementing successful high impact family planning interventions in the states.
Following a demand-driven self selection process, the grant is aimed at providing technical and financial assistance to the states in implementing successful high impact Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) family planning proven interventions.
In a statement, TCI, implemented globally by the Gates Institute at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and in Nigeria by the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs (JHUCCP).
It will work with the State Government through the State Ministry of Health, State Primary Healthcare Development Agency and other relevant Departments and Agencies of the states to implement the grant with the states in the drivers seat at the forefront of executing the grant and TCI providing light touch technical support.
The award will fund planned activities targeted at ensuring improved social norms in favour of family planning; expanded and continuous availability of modern contraceptives; improved Quality of Contraceptive Care as well as documenting improvements in supply, all aimed at improving uptake of Family Planning services amongst underserved urban poor using the NURHI evidence based, high impact approach.
Nigeria has demonstrated commitment to family planning with the National Blueprint for Family Planning in 2014, which aims to achieve a National CPR of 36 per cent by 2018, to reposition the Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing programme on its investment agenda and to ensure all women of reproductive age (15-49) have unhindered access to modern family planning.
With the challenge fund, these states are set to ensure the necessary shift in Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing programming at the structural, service and community levels.
Dr Mojisola Odeku, Portfolio Director of JHUCCP Nigeria country projects: “The Challenge Initiative offers a unique approach because interested Nigerian cities self-select to participate in the Initiative and bring their resources to the table to leverage significant resources provide high quality family planning/reproductive health services.
“With the Challenge Initiative, this set of grantees will be able to meet the growing demand for voluntary family planning, particularly among the urban poor, and break the cycle of poverty. Family planning and reproductive health gives women, families, and communities a brighter future.”
Program Manager, TCI Nigeria, Dr. Victor Igharo, said TCI will continue to provide to self selected to adapt the NURHI model or any slice of the model for change.
The Challenge Initiative is built on the success of the pioneering NURHI, which contributed to increased CPR (average of 11.5 percentage points) in FCT, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Benin, and Zaria).
It encourages states to invest in family and implement proven strategies and model such as NURHI to contribute to the achievement of the national family planning goal of 36 per cent mCPR by 2018.
The self selected States, through the Ministry of Health and the benefitting Local Government Areas have committed to provide enabling environment and leadership to the successful implementation of the proposed activities through an efficient, cost effective and result oriented manner. This “business unusual” model of grant strengthens sustainability by warranting states to fulfill their commitment for counterpart financing and in-kind resources to accomplish approved work plans.
For states to achieve the National 36 per cent Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) 2018 target, they need robust plan to improve access to voluntary Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing – a key component of reproductive health that has proven to have transformative impacts on communities and countries to promote health and prosperity.
Family planning information and services reduce maternal mortality by 30 per cent, while giving women, men, couples and young people the opportunity to choose whether and when to have a child, space births, and prevent unintended pregnancy – unlocking their future opportunities and improving their overall quality of life.