Experts have called for increased efforts by the federal government and all stakeholders towards implementing the Reproductive Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent, Elderly+Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) COVID-19 Response Continuity (recovery) plan 2020-2022.
They gave the advice during a two-day retreat with non-governmental organisations, young people and the media.
They decried the fact that two years down the line, the plan has not been implemented and will be expiring this year.
The RMNCAEH+N plan which is worth N12,190,045,688, was developed to mitigate the indirect impact of COVID-19, as well as maintain the provision of RMNCAEH+N services.
The essential health service packages prioritized in the plan are: Routine immunization, reproductive health services, care during pregnancy and child birth, essential care for new-born, young infants and under-five children, adolescents, older adults and the elderly.
Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, coordinator and founder, Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), said the plan is technically supposed to expire by December this year but very little has been implemented.
He said the implementation of the plan would ensure that family planning, adolescent and youth nutrition services are not disrupted.
Magashi said the fact that this year is a pre-election year underscores the need for increased advocacy to ensure implementation of the plan as governance could be disrupted with many parliamentarians, policy makers and politicians focusing on re-election activities.
He said “the Federal Ministry of Health in 2020 engaged different stakeholders through the RMNCAEH +N platform to develop a recovery plan as a response to the global call that every country should develop a recovery plan to ensure that services are not disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Government needs that advocacy, that little push and reminder particularly as we are in a pre-election year.
“RMNCAEH+N Plan has been available since 2020 but only between 5 to 10 per cent of the plan has been implemented till date, and it is still lying on the shelve of family health department of the health ministry.”
He added that there was need for engagement to raise awareness on the plan at state levels.
Senator Istifanus Gyang representing Plateau North senatorial district in the National Assembly said it is a disservice to the nation that the plan has not been implemented till now.
He said legislators under the power of oversight will take it up.
“We have extended the life span of the 2021 budget to March, and the 2022 budget it is still an opportunity so that the fund will not only be released but also utilized.”
Hon. Muhammad Usman, former vice chairman of the House committee for healthcare services said Nigerians hardly trust the government because of its lack of transparency.
He said what is missing in governance today is lack of political will and the right team to effect change. “The media has a role to play and should continue to play that role in 2022.”