By Elijah Ugani: Health Correspondent
A consultant for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Health Finance and Governance (HFG) initiative, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong has said that mobilizing resources at the domestic level is the most sustainable of way to fund health interventions in Nigeria.
Ekpenyong disclosed this in an interview with CrossRiverWatch on the sidelines of the maiden meeting of the Domestic Resources Mobilisation Technical Working Group (DRM-TWG) in Cross River State where she averred that there is need for deliberation on strategies to mobilize funds for the implementation of the HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis programs in the state.
She stated that: “Domestic Resource Mobilization appears to be the only route to sustainability of HIV/AIDS and TB intervention in Nigeria.
USAID Health Financing and Governance project had worked in collaboration with SACA, the State Ministry of Health and the TB control Program to reactivate and expand DRM TWG in the state to include DRM for TB services.”
Explaining further, the state program officer of the USAID HFG, Dr. Ibiam Azu told CrossRiverWatch that: “Before now, government perception about HIV and Tuberculosis is donor driven.
It is very important that government takes over HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, malaria, reproductive health and family planning.
This is because there is donor fatigue and a dwindling support from countries around the world and so (the) Domestic Resource Mobilization Technical Working Group seeks to work with the government to take ownership of the implementation of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis programs.”
The TWG was inaugurated in June 2018 by the Cross River State government with the Special Adviser on Budget monitoring and implementation, Mr. Moses Onoh as chairman while the Commissioner for Health had charged the group to tackle the issue of donor fatigue.
And, Mr. Onoh who convened the meeting stressed the need to follow up on resource mobilization advocacy drive.
He called on members to think outside the box to harness funding from not only the government, but also private companies within and out of the state.
Part of the resolutions included the pursuit for budgetary releases to the State Action Committee on Aids (SACA) and Tuberculosis services, while the DRM TWG should be captured in the 2019 budget as well as the capturing of all TWGs in the 2019 budget by SACA.
Also agreed upon were advocacy visits to the governor, his deputy, the accountant general, commissioner for health, tank farm operators and traditional rulers while a breakfast meeting is expected to be held with all body corporates in the state before the end of July to solicit their support in financing HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis activities in the state.
The group has since met with the accountant general who pledged to facilitate release of approved funds.
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