Since January, 2014, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) with support from MacArthur Foundation has been implementing series of activities in Jigawa State primarily to strengthen the capacity of relevant stakeholders—Legislature, Executives, Civil Society, and the Media in the State and interrogate issues around maternal and child health. Among such activities were CSOs-Legislative-Executive Roundtable on Maternal Health, Media Training for Legislative Reporters on Maternal Health and Town-Hall Meeting on Strengthening Existing MDGs Committee in the Jigawa State Assembly, Town-Hall Meeting on Understanding Legislative Oversight Function on Maternal Health organized between 20th-21st January, 2014 and 4th-5th June, 2014, respectively.
As part of the efforts to ensure relevant stakeholders are held accountable to their roles and responsibilities and take well-informed decisions in planning, policy formulation and domestication of National Health Act to provide for effective maternal and child health services in the State (as observed and recommended throughout the aforementioned engagements), CISLAC found it essential to further engage the media so as to sustain its existing tempo of advocacy. This primarily informed the decision by CISLAC to pay an advocacy visit to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of Freedom Radio and New World FM, Jigawa State 25th March, 2015. During the visits, CISLAC made the following calls:
Call to Action to Jigawa State’s Legislature
• Full-fledged political commitment and budgetary allocation to health sector in Jigawa State.
• Increased Executive-Legislative oversight on healthcare sector, especially in the grassroots.
• Constructive collaboration among Legislators, Ministry of Health, CSOs and various stakeholders to enhance provision and service delivery on maternal health in Jigawa State.
• Prompt political will to domesticate and implement National Health Act by Jigawa State House of Assembly and the Executives to promote sustainable maternal health services.
• Enhanced legislative oversight towards judicious utilization of the existing resources for the maximum provision of maternal and child health.
• Effective coordination among all tiers of government towards successful domestication and implementation of National Heath Act; and exhaustive scrutiny of resource allocation to ministries, departments and agencies by the State House of Assembly to enhance transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Act.
Call to Action to Jigawa State’s Executives
• Participatory policy formulation, resource allocation and utilization towards healthcare provision and delivery in Jigawa State.
• Adequate healthcare infrastructural facilities to restore human dignity, rights and provide accountability for maternal health; and massive recruitment of additional skilled health manpower.
• Effective utilization of the existing medical services; workable implementation of Safe Motherhood Program; and strengthened Primary Healthcare System, especially at grassroots across the State.
• Strengthening of Community Health Committees to ensure adequate supervision and deliverable oversight of local health facilities in the State.
• Increased government supervision, monitoring and media demand for proper professional codes of conduct by medical personnel in the State.
• Massive public enlightenment on Danger Signs, Safe Delivery Plan, Emergency Transport Scheme, Savings and blood donation for pregnant mothers; and adequate structures and processes to promote functionality of Safe Motherhood Initiatives.
Call to Action to Jigawa State’s Civil Society
• Massive sensitization, public education and enlightenment, positive attitude and proper orientation among women, especially at grassroots on reproductive health and general health issues.
• Intensified advocacy and sensitization campaign by Civil Society among traditional and religion leaders on maternal accountability.
• Increased attention towards youth-adolescents contributions on maternal accountability and access to effective information on family planning and reproductive health.
• Proper individual orientation towards health services and strict compliance by health workers to medical code of ethics.
Call to Action to Jigawa State Media
• De-normalised media reportage on maternal mortality cases; and enhanced education accessibility to promote well-informed citizens on maternal health.
• Leveraging social media as a tool in media reportage on maternal health related challenges.
• Increased media reportage and agenda setting toward maternal accountability, especially at the grassroots across Jigawa State; expanded Free Maternal and Child Health Policy across the State.
• Massive media reportage, coverage, research and capacity building on maternal health to hold policy makers accountable for maternal accountability in the State.
• Continuous media reportage on the implementation, supervision and review of various political policies on health.
Action Points by CISLAC, and the CEOs of Freedom Radio and New World FM
After presentation of the Call for Action by CISLAC, the CEOs of Freedom Radio and New World FM agreed on the following:
• Establish working relationship with CISLAC to further galvanise and sustain advocacy on maternal accountability in Jigawa State.
• Utilise existing radio programmes on health at Freedom Radio such as ‘Aikilikita’, ‘Mataringida’ and ‘Niakushina’ (all in Hausa language) to promote advocacy campaign on maternal and child health in the State.
• Freedom radio shall in addition to the existing programmes, design and develop a new programme to fully capture CISLAC’s advocacy on maternal and child health.
• Management and staff of New World FM shall re-direct focus towards persistent reportage, reshape individuals’ orientation and perception, and clear existing misconceptions on maternal and child health in the State.
• New World FM shall sustain executive-legislative advocacy towards adequate budgetary allocation to health sector to provide for effective maternal and child health services in the State.
• New world FM shall constantly invite relevant stakeholders including civil society to for discussion around issues affecting maternal and child health in the state
• New World FM shall develop and broadcast drama (in Hausa language) around issues maternal and child health.
• Existing health programmes at New World FM such as ‘Fili Mata’ (weekly programme, where women in health profession will be invited to discuss on issues affecting maternal and child health), ‘Dariya Waye’ (daily phoning programme), and ‘Lunch Meal’ (programme on food and nutrition) will be deployed to enhance advocacy on maternal and child health.
• Also, New World FM shall develop song in local language (Hausa) for public sensitisation on maternal and child health.