To be able to provide quality Maternal, Newborn and Child Healthcare (MNCH), Save the Children International (SCI) an international humanitarian and development organization working for the survival, protection and development of children has concluded a three-day intensive workshop aimed at developing advocacy tools for heath workers in Lagos State.
Save the Children MNCH Adviser, Dr Opeyemi Odedere, who is the lead on the project, said `Improving the Capacity of Health Workers in Nigeria’ is a project being implemented in three states in the country– Lagos Gombe and Kaduna.
Speaking on the just concluded workshop, Dr Odedere said advocacy happens to be one of the core aspects of the project that they are implementing and the objective of the project is to ensure they support the government in the creation of an enabling policy environment for the health workers to be able to provide quality MNCH services.
“But here, it’s for us to involve major stakeholders including MNCH coalitions, the media, associations; the key bodies that are involved in ensuring that communications get to the government, the decision makers and whatever information provided to the government, the decision is what they usually use to make decision, for this key set of people to have their skills fine-tuned to be able to do some of these things. So that’s essentially what we are here for,” Dr Odedere said.
On the relevance of the workshop, he noted that there are some cardinal steps in showcasing how advocacy tools should be seen and presented. “Basically, there are some steps that are expected when it comes to development of advocacy tools, we need to identity what the issues are, background information about the issues around us. What are the issues we project to the government or to the decision makers, even sometime to the donors; it’s not about you seeking for fund from donors it means that you can get those things done. So as you are identifying the issues you are identifying the solutions and as you are identifying the solutions you need to start thinking about means to ensuring the political will,” he said.
Dr Odedere said since 2015 that the project started, that the project is aimed at training 5000 workers in the three states where 1,900 would be trained in Lagos whereas the remaining would be in the other two states.
On what informed the training of which he confirmed that over 1000 has been trained in Lagos already, Dr Odedere said they are training them basically on key interventions that would ensure that the health of the mothers and children are actually improved. Such interventions according to him are provision of immunization services, provision of newborn care, ensuring vaccine management. “These are key interventions that will help in improving the health of newborn baby, children of under-five and also ensuring mothers give birth in a very quality way. So all these things are the reasons why we needed to train to improve their capacity to ensure they will be able to provide capacity and quality maternal newborn and child health services are provided.
He however called on government to help replicate the training to more health workers and in the state,“because the truth is that this is just a particular percentage of the number of health workers we have in the state. So what we are saying to the government is to take this as a task that all health workers in every facility must be trained on their task even if they have been trained before they should have refresher trainings on every task that they carry out in their facility,” he advised.
In support of Dr. Odedere explanation, Folake Kuti, Advocacy Adviser for Save the Children Lagos said the reason for the workshop is to have a good message that has evidence to show that government has to do what you want them to do.
“We are also trying to develop tools, how to craft messages and be able to convince policy makers this is really necessary for the people, so that is the essence of this workshop. You can see there are health unions, they make demands from the government, there are civil society organizations that make demands on behalf of the people and so you must be able to convince the people you are going to meet. Then when you write advocacy message with data to back it up, it has to be well crafted and you are able to convince government that this is really necessary for the people then they will do it.
Mrs. Kuti maintained that the trainings the health workers are receiving in the state is meant to sharpen their skills. “We really want at least healthcare service to be better for the people,” she said.
She is also calling on government to get Human Resource for Health policy and Task Shifting and Task Sharing policy which has gone through certain processes to be domesticated in Lagos state like in the national.