Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) organized a one day Town Hall Meeting on Strengthening Existing MDGs committee in the Jigawa State House of Assembly with support from Mac Arthur Foundation. The meeting drew over 20 participants from Jigawa State House of Assembly, civil society and the media. The meeting featured Mallam Dalhatu Yola and Chioma Blessing Kanu as the lead presenters and other discussants. After exhaustive deliberations on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:
- In Nigeria, one in 13 women die in pregnancy or childbirth and maternal mortality is rated 2, 000 per 100,000 in Northern Nigeria; and Jigawa State recorded only 20% attendance at maternal health facilities as at 2008 according to DHS survey.
- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) presents Nigeria with opportunity for greater equity, prosperity and fulfillment in maternal and child health (i.e. Goal 4 and 5 of the MDGs); and Nigeria ranked among the countries facing a setback in the attainment of MDGs.
- While the responsibility to implementing and achieving MDGs lie not only with the executives, Jigawa State legislature holds essential position through effective oversight towards successful implementation and achievement of MDGs.
- Presently, while there is absence of MDGs Committee in the Jigawa State House of Assembly, oversight role on MDGs projects is respectively allocated to the existing various Committees in the State Assembly.
- A private Bill on Free MCH has been presented to the State House of Assembly for scrutiny and passage.
- Jigawa State is among the States facing challenges associated with delays in seeking, reaching and receiving emergency obstetric care, coupled with inadequate public enlightenment of Danger Signs, Safe Delivery Plan, Emergency Transport Scheme, Savings and blood donation.
- Jigawa State Government has in existence, policies on Free Maternal and Child Health (from 1-5 years) and education for girls from primary to tertiary level.
- Existing policy without adequate legislation on Free Maternal and Child Health may threaten the sustainable Free MCH in Jigawa State.
- Unethical attitude of some health personnel has discouraged attendance at medical facilities.
- Poor record keeping, lack of effective monitoring tools and supervision as well as inadequate information dissemination strategies has backpedalled the tremendous achievements of Emergency Maternal Care Committees in the local communities of the State.
- Jigawa State Government has partnered National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the MDGs Conditional Grant Scheme to provide logistic support for maternal health and other related issues in the State.
- Poor coordination among tiers of government and overlapping mandates among ministries, departments and agencies on a particular vote are threatening the achievement of MDGs in the State.
- Post-2015 Agenda being recommended for Nigeria did not provide for people who cannot work, effective legislation against sexual violence, and reliable energy.
- Prompt establishment of MDGs Committee in Jigawa State House of Assembly to fast-track the achievement of MDGs and catalyse development.
- Effective legislation on Free Maternal and Child Health by Jigawa State House of Assembly to sustain provision and development on maternal and child health in the State.
- Enhanced legislative oversight towards judicious utilization of the existing resources for the maximum provision of maternal and child health.
- Increased legislative focus and holistic approach towards the implementation of MDGs.
- Judicious resource allocation and utilization towards healthcare provision and delivery; and full-fledged political commitment and budgetary allocation to health sector in Jigawa State.
- Effective coordination among all tiers of government towards successful implementation of MDGs; 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 MDGs.
- Joint sponsorship of MDGs-related legislation by the existing Committees in Jigawa State House of Assembly through constructive collaboration with the State’s executives and civil society.
- Good governance to promote Post-2015 Agenda to cater for adequate support for people who cannot work and effective protection for the victims of sexual violence.
- Increased political focus towards health sector to enhance accessibility to maternal services and community awareness on Safe Motherhood Initiative.
- Massive public enlightenment on Danger Signs, Safe Delivery Plan, Emergency Transport Scheme, Savings and blood donation for pregnant mothers.
- Adequate structures and processes to promote functionality of Safe Motherhood Initiatives
- Proper individual orientation towards health services and strict compliance by health workers to medical code of ethics.
The participants expressed their appreciation to CISLAC for convening the town hall meeting and to Mac Arthur Foundation for providing the support to this all important program channeled towards the realization of MDGs with special focus on maternal and child health as well as increased knowledge amongst stakeholders. The State Government strongly supports the initiative of promoting MDGs. Participants noted that the engagement was revealing and indeed an opportunity to begin to create bigger conversation amongst players on MDGs in Jigawa State. Participants further called for enlightenment of rural populace and more sensitization workshops on Post-2015 Agenda.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC
Zakar M. Inuwa
Secretary, Jigawa State House of Assembly Committee on Water Resources
Musa Hassan Zawam
Secretary, Jigawa State House of Assembly Committee on Local Governments