FG, Experts brainstorm on task shifting/sharing policy

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has charged stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the national Task Shifting and Task Sharing policy to boost the healthcare sector.

The minister mad the call at a one=day NGOs/CSOs stakeholders meeting organised by dRPC under the PACFaH@SCALE project in collaboration with the Ministry of Health on Thursday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that development Research and Protect Centre (dPRC)is a non-profit organisation under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale (PACFaH@SCALE),that aims to strengthen the capacities of indigenous CSOs to hold policy decision makers accountable in terms of their financial commitments to the people.

The meeting was convened to deliberate on the implementation of the policy which was introduced in 2014 by the Federal Government to close the gap of accessing health care in the country.

Adewole, who was represented by Dr Emmanuel Meriboli, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics of the ministry, noted that it was important to shift task in order to ensure that Nigerians get adequate health services at every level.

“We all know that there are a lot of health facilities where there are inadequate doctors, midwives, nurses and medical laboratory scientists.

“That is the reason task shifting and task sharing is important as it will enable community health extension workers as well as junior community health extension workers to provide basic health care for patients at the primary health care level.

“They should be able to carry out basic urine test, examining of patients, as well as family planning services.

“But we cannot do it on our own and this is where the CSOs and NGOs input is highly needed to ensure proper usage of funds, implementation of policy and training and supervision of frontline health workers,” he said.

According to him, the policy cannot remain at the federal level without the state governments also implementing it.

He therefore urged the participants to take advantage of the meeting and ensure the policy is implemented in their various states.

The minister lauded the activities of dRPC, noting that the NGO has continued to play a major role on the task shifting and task sharing policy of the health sector.

Earlier in his welcome address, Dr Kayode Afolabi, Director and Head, Reproductive Health Division, Ministry of Health, said the meeting was aimed at ensuring provision of basic health care services in rural and hard to reach areas.

He therefore craved for the CSOs and NGOs to fast track the implementation of the task shifting and sharing policy.

“It is important to reposition family planning programe on its investment agenda.

“It is also important to ensure that all women of reproductive age have unhindered access to modern family planning methods of their choice in their communities,” he said.

Dr Emmanuel Abanida, Senior Technical Advisor, dRPC-PAS project, noted that the implementation of the policy has faced a lot of challenges.

These challenges include lack of operational plan, slow pace of domestication by the states and funding gap.

Others include opacity with level of implementation and lack of understanding of the policy by the states and other actors.

He however noted that the meetings with the CSOs and NGOs would help surpass the challenges and help to ensure accountability and implementation of the policy.

The meeting drew about 65 participants representing various CSOs and NGOs as well as the media from across the country

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