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Nigeria: in the right direction

At the first national conference on human resources for health (HRH) last year,  a number of challenges were identified, including weak constitutional provision for HRH, inadequate provision/absorption, maldistribution, poor retention of health workers and non-existence of HRH support structures in some states.

Thirteen recommendations came out of that conference. And the Minister for Health has been quite supportive.

As the first step forward, the ministry has recognised the need for a strong platform to move HRH development in Nigeria forward.

Save the Children has been advocating and giving necessary support to the Federal Ministry of Health and the states where we work.

The way forward

Last week, Save the Children and several partners met in the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health to chart the way forward.

We have been advocating for, and will be supporting the ministry in the coming years, to support three institutional arms – the National Steering Committee, the Technical Advisory Committee and the Secretariat. These three, combined, make up the HRH platform.

The National Steering Committee is the highest organ and will oversee all the activities of the national HRH forum.

It will provide policy and strategic guidance, direction, approve annual plans, monitor the secretariat, advise federal/state authorities on HRH and mobilise funds for HRH activities.

The Technical Advisory Committee, of which Save the Children is a member, is to provide support to the National Steering Committee.

It will advise the National Steering committee, facilitate dialogue between HRH stakeholders, and identify issues that need follow-up, carry out research on HRH and approve the content of technical reports.

Time will tell

The secretariat completes the picture and is charged with the responsibility of managing the activities of HRH on a day-to-day basis.

The secretariat is expected to provide administrative support to the other organs of the forum, ensure dissemination of reports, follow up the implementation of recommendations, ensure coordination and ensure liaison with other HRH observatories.

With this clear direction provided by the Federal Ministry of Health, I conclude that Nigeria is in the right direction in terms of HRH development.

Nigeria being a federal republic, the challenge, in the coming years may really be at state and local government levels, which are where MNCH services really sit.


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