By Sola Ogundipe
The Challenge Initiative is igniting a movement for the spread of sustained reproductive health interventions in Nigeria. Using its Business Unusual model, an initiative that supports States to lead the design and implementation of high-impact reproductive health interventions to increase contraceptive prevalence rates.
At a recent workplan development meeting at the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Abeokuta, Ogun State, aimed at helping TCI enabled States develop a comprehensive strategy/plans for their reproductive health interventions, the Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, described Maternal, Newborn and Child Health as one of the biggest elements of public health.
According to Ipaye: “Health is the 2nd of the five pillars of focus in Ogun State. Our maternal mortality rate is currently at 66 per 1000 live births and we are steadily making progress with the help of TCI.
“We are happy with the Initiative’s contribution to improving contraceptive prevalent rates in Ogun and I am glad to hear we have recently also accessed a new adolescent, youth, sexual, reproductive health intervention as well.”
Speaking of TCI’s role in providing technical coaching to States, Mr. Andrew Okoh, who is the Secretary of the Advocacy Core Group in Niger State noted: “TCI makes you take ownership. They give you the information to take decision and allow you to lead. With TCI, you make the decisions by yourself, so it is easy for you to identify where you have made a mistake and learn from that mistake”.
Reiterating Andrew’s position, Mr. Yakubu Zakshi, Programme Manager, Saving One Million Lives project in Bauchi State stated: “Our experience with TCI has been interesting because TCI allows the State to be at the driver’s seat so that with or without TCI, Bauchi State will know how to lead, and sustainability will not be a problem.”
While presenting the progress made with TCI support in Delta State, Dr. Tetsola, the Delta State Programme Manager – Saving One Million Lives project said that the state had started playing a coordination role among implementing partners in the State.
In support of TCI’s demand driven model, the Executive Secretary of Ogun State, Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Elijah Ogunsola said, “For us to win the war in our health sector, we must work on our demand”.