The Challenge Initiative (TCI), has signed a Letter of Commitment with the Ogun, Kano, Delta, Bauchi and Niger state governments to implement The Challenge Fund Catalytic Grant after a demand-driven self-selection process for the urban poor.
In a statement made available to our correspondent by Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), said the grant is aimed at providing technical and financial assistance to the states in implementing successful high impact NURHI family planning proven interventions.
TCI said it will work with the state government through the State Ministry of Health, State Primary Healthcare Development Agency and other relevant departments as well as agencies of the states to implement the grant with the states in the driver’s seat at the forefront of executing the grant while TCI provides light touch technical support.
According to TCI Nigeria’s Communications and Knowledge Management Officer, Dashe Kaseina, said for states to achieve the National 36 percent Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) 2018 target, they need robust plan to improve access to voluntary family planning, childbirth spacing as key component of reproductive health that has proven to have transformative impacts on communities and countries to promote health and prosperity.
On family planning information and services, Kaseina stated that family planning has reduced maternal mortality by 30 percent, while giving women, men and young people the opportunity to choose whether and when to have a child, space births, as well as prevent unintended pregnancy, unlocking their future opportunities and improving their overall quality of life.
She emphasised that Nigeria has demonstrated commitment to family planning with the National Blueprint for Family Planning in 2014, which aims to achieve a National CPR of 36 percent by 2018, stating that “to reposition the family planning, childbirth spacing programme on its investment agenda and to ensure that all women of reproductive age15 to 49 years of age have unhindered access to modern family planning/childbirth spacing methods of their choice.”
She said with the challenge of the fund, these states are set to ensure the necessary shift in family planning/childbirth spacing programming at the structural, service and community levels.
Kaseina stated that “it will be recalled that the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole during the November 2016 national family planning conference in Abuja made a bold commitment to family planning.
“Adewole said, our commitment is that in spite of the downturn in the economy we would continue to meet all our obligations to put three Million Dollar per year and for 2017 we will increase it to four million US Dollar.”
Dr. Victor Igharo, Program Manager of TCI Nigeria said, the initiative is built on the success of NURHI which contributed to increased Contraceptive Prevalent Rate (CPR) which is averagely 11.5 percentage points in 6 cities, FCT, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Benin, and Zaria.
Igharo said TCI is encouraging states to invest their resources in the family as well as implement proven strategies and model such as NURHI to contribute to the achievement of the national family planning goal of 36 percent CPR by 2018.
He said that this set of grantees will be able to meet the growing demand for voluntary family planning, particularly among the urban poor, and break the cycle of poverty, adding that family planning and reproductive health gives women, families, as well as communities a brighter future.
Igharo, however, added that TCI Nigeria will continue to provide to self-selected states with NURHI model or any slice of the model for change
Lending her voice, the Portfolio Director of Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs, (JHUCCP) Nigeria country projects, Mojisola Odeku, said “the Challenge Initiative offers a unique approach because interested Nigerian cities self-select to participate in the Initiative and bring their resources to the table in order to leverage significant resources and be able to provide high-quality family planning and reproductive health services to those in need.”