5th National Steering Committee Meeting of Saving One Million Lives — Remarks by HMH Prof. Isaac Adewole

I am delighted to be here to preside over the 5th ‘Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results’ (SOML-PforR) National Steering Committee meeting to rub minds and fashion a way forward on implementation of SOML-PforR in Nigeria.

Following the last National Steering Committee meeting in May 2017, several developments along the implementation pathway for the SOML-PforR have taken place. These include: the release of the preliminary results of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the findings from the States Performance Management Assessment by the National Programme Management Unit (PMU), the Commencement of analytics by the Independent Verification Agent (IVA) and many more. It has therefore become imperative that we meet to review program progress.

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)

You will recall that at the 2nd Steering Committee meeting held in March 2016, in Abuja, it was agreed that the outcome of the 2016 MICS will be used to calculate States performance and fund disbursement under the SOML-PforR against the results of the 2015 SMART Survey as the baseline.

This decision was premised on the fact that the MICS survey is conducted every 5 years and the 2016 SMART Survey was to be carried out in the same year as the round 5 of MICS.

Consequently, upon careful analysis of both surveys vis-à-vis the indicators, methodologies, timing, scarce resources and considering the fact that both surveys are conducted by NBS and supported by UNICEF, the above agreement was reached.

Even though the overall results of the 2016 MICS showed a general sub-optimal performance on all major health indicators, we observed that some States have improved compared to previous surveys.

States with results at the bottom of the ladder are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the SOML-PforR funds and work on their poor indicators. We should always remember that the overarching objective of this entire exercise is to strengthen our health system and improve health outcomes in Nigeria.

Furthermore, field reports like this should help us to identify weaknesses and bottlenecks in the delivery of quality health services to Nigerians.

As an immediate next step, I have directed the National Programme Management Unit to immediately commence preparations for the 2017 SMART survey and National Health Facility Survey (NHFS) respectively against 2018 disbursement exercise. I therefore call on our development partners to support this process.

Performance Management Assessment by SOML-PforR Programme Management Unit

As you may be aware, the National Programme Management Unit has been periodically conducting performance management assessment in all the States aiming to provide an objectively quantifiable description of current levels of State performance towards meeting programme management targets as required under the SOML-PforR. Whilst results from the States showed some improvement from the previous assessment, the following findings were noted:

i. Some States have not formally inaugurated their Steering Committee, Technical Consultative Committee, Programme Management Unit, and develop organogram.

ii. Some are yet to access their funds at the CBN.

iii. Incidence of unnecessary crisis and power struggle especially between SMOH and SPHCDA/B.

iv. Some States have not followed due process and therefore have vertical and fragmented approach to the implementation of SOML.

v. Some Heads of Departments also double as Programme Managers of SOML.

vi. Few States engaged services of resident consultants for SOML-PforR.

vii. Few States have yet to submit their 3rd quarter workplan

The above observations are critical to the success of this programme; I therefore urge you to do the needful.

It is therefore, desirous that as policy makers and programme managers you will focus on the shortcomings identified in the 2016 MICS and other available data to ensure that subsequent activities address all areas of concern in a concerted and coordinated manner. I urge you all to play active roles in closing the gaps in the provision of high-quality health services to the Nigerian populace.

Let me use this opportunity to appreciate efforts of all concerned in improving the lives of mothers and children. I must also acknowledge the support of all State Governments for allowing a successful conduct of surveys.

Once again, I thank everyone for being part of this meeting; your presence is a demonstration of your commitment towards improving the health of Nigerians.

Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Professor Isaac F. Adewole,

FAS, FSPSP, FRCOG, DSc(Hons)

Honourable Minister of Health

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