This blog was originally published by MamaYe. Written by Aminu Magashi Garba.
We attended an inspiring workshop in Harare at the end of January. It was organised by Harmonisation for Health Africa, the World Health Organisation and others, and aimed to get different types of stakeholders from the same country in the same room so they could agree together on a health budget advocacy plan. These different groups included budget CSOs, health CSOs, the media, parliamentarians, and representatives from Ministries of Health and Finance. Teams from Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe were invited.
The outcomes of the meeting were pretty exciting – each team drafted an advocacy plan and returned to their own countries to sharpen the objectives and activities. Subject to approval, the WHO will provide a US$20,000 seed grant for implementation of each country plan in the first year. The Africa Health Budget Network has also agreed to share updates among countries on the implementation of such plans. In line with this commitment, we have provided an update on each country below:
Ghana: The Ghana team is led by the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights. The team has submitted a draft advocacy plan to WHO. Furthermore, one of the MPs at the workshop, Mr Alhaji Amadu Sorogho, called on his colleagues to use the National Health Insurance Funds at their disposal to fight maternal and newborn mortality, according to the Ghana News Agency.
Malawi: The Malawi team is led by Malawi Health Equity Network – so far they have met once since the workshop in order to finalise a strategic plan which has been submitted to WHO.
Nigeria: The team is led by Community Health Research and has held two meetings since the workshop in order to approve their advocacy plan, which has now been shared with WHO.
Zambia: Have commenced engagement – further updates in the next newsletter.
Zimbabwe: Have commenced engagement – further updates in the next newsletter.