In December 2017, the Nasarawa State Commissioner of Health released five million Nigerian naira (US $14,000) from the 2017 state budget for implementation of family planning activities . By February 2018, all of the funds were spent as planned—to train community health extension workers (CHEWs), procure family planning-related supplies (e.g. gauze, surgical gloves), deliver long-acting reversible contraceptive services, and provide supportive supervision to healthcare workers.
Prior to December, it was not evident that allocated funds had been spent on family planning, even though a dedicated budget allocation was created in 2015—following advocacy by the Nasarawa State Family Health Advocacy Coalition Group and a Nigerian health budget-monitoring organization Partnership for Advocacy for Child and Family Health.
In October 2016, Advance Family Planning (AFP) local partner in Nigeria, Pathfinder International, in collaboration with Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020), conducted an AFP SMART workshop for the Nasarawa State Family Health Advocacy Coalition Group (FHACG). The group comprises representatives from civil society and faith-based organizations as well as government officials who represent the state’s 2.5 million people .
Both Pathfinder International and the Partnership for Advocacy for Child and Family Health supported FHACG’s advocacy visits to the Nasarawa State Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, the Chairman of the House Committee on Health in the State House of Assembly, and the State Commissioner of Health. The advocates offered an analysis of how the family planning funds could be spent if released. Following several advocacy meetings, the State Commissioner of Health released five million naira ($14,000) from the state’s overall 2017 family planning budget of 15 million naira ($42,000) as a demonstration of the state’s commitment to improve access to family planning services .
The investment in training CHEWs and providing services and supplies between December and February is a positive step forward to accelerate improvement in reproductive health outcomes in Nasarawa and help the state contribute its share of Nigeria’s national Family Planning 2020 goals.