By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River State Government Thursday in Calabar inaugurated two Program-for-Results (PforR) committees to access and manage the USD1.5 million made available to the state from the World Bank’s USD500million facility given to the Federal Government.
The fund is to execute the Federal Government’s ‘Saving One Million Lives’ (SOML) initiative and Cross River State had completed some of the tasks required to access the funds which includes the setting up of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA).
Inaugurating the committee, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong said there was need for all hands to be on deck to ensure that the funds are utilised properly and targets are met to ensure the state is able to continuously access the fund.
“We are to get USD1.5Million this year and if we perform optimally, we will be able to get up to USD2Million next year. Also, if we do not perform well and maybe score zero we will get zero, I mean nothing at all the next year.
“I urge all of you to be passionate about this as we all want our people to live” Dr. Asibong said.
Similarly, the Director General of the CRSPHCDA, Dr. Betta Edu in her remarks said that the ability to attract those who need medical services the most was key as the dream of achieving ensuring all Cross Riverians was finally coming to reality.
“It is like a dream finally come true. It is like a child that has been struggling with the labor stage since last year June and we are at the third stage of it” Dr. Edu said.
Continuing, she said that; “This is a really serious business and not business as usual. I know the moral of our foot soldiers is low but we hope with this we will be able to boost their moral so that we can get what we are looking for.”
Charging the committees to work hard, Dr. Edu said that; “We must do what is verifiable and do what is accountable. It is our ability to attract those who need the health services that matters as we can save more than one million lives if we use this fund judiciously.”
Earlier, the Program Manager, SOML PforR, Barrister Lucy Enakirerhi in her presentation disclosed that the Federal Government reviewed its performance in maternal and child health from 1990 – 2013 and discovered it was not yielding results and therefore decided to come up with the Performance for Results (PforR) system powered by a USD500million world bank facility.
She said results will be measured by WHO and UNICEF standards with the most improved state within a zone earning an extra USD500,000, a national champion to get an extra USD1Million, a state that achieves the required result will get USD3Million and the states earn USD500,000 for setting up the SPHCDA and an additional USD300,000 for every year the budget execution is published.
The results are measured with the progress in Immunization using Penta-Valent 3 as indicator, bed net use by children under 5, Vitamin A supplementation for children under 5, family Planning and the percentage of HIV testing during pregnancy among others.
The committees include the Program Steering Committee to be headed by the Health Commissioner and has representatives of relevant bodies, partners and government parastatals including the DG of the CRSPHCDA as members and are responsible for the oversight and implementation of the PforR goals and are to meet at least twice a year.
Also, the Technical Consultative Group is to meet quarterly and is to ensure that the vertical programs remain focused on results, data (Survey and Administrative) and is regularly analysed in detail with the issues identified addressed.