Health experts and critical stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to publish the 2020, 2021 and 2022 COVID-19 and Health Security expenditure report.

The experts include Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the health sector.

They made the call in  a statement by the Coordinator, African Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr Aminu Magashi.

The statement came at the end of a two –day retreat to review the draft national and states scorecards, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Magashi said that the scorecard was
on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N), COVID-19 and Health Security Accountability, organized by AHBN, in Lagos.

He said that the stakeholders also advocated the strengthening of a national financing mechanism and multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration for health security.

The AHBN Coordinator said that they further recommended that in line with the ‘One Health Approach’, the Nigerian government should strengthen coordinated surveillance systems in the animal and public health sectors.

“Other recommendations of the stakeholders include the call on the Federal Government to support states in strengthening crisis communication team and community involvement for factual public information on COVID-19.

“The government should ensure adequate COVID-19 vaccines were available to all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT and support poor performing states to increase vaccine uptake and reduce hesitancy.

“ The Federal Government should also  support relevant government agencies for the development of innovative ways to monitor allocation, donors support, loans and government releases for health security and COVID-19,” he said.

Magashi reported Dr. Mohammed Abbas, Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Bayero University, Kano, as saying that  it was worrisome that 60 per cent of infectious diseases came from zoonotic sources.

“It is also the source of three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in humans.

“This calls for urgent attention by the Federal Government to ensure the availability of coordinated surveillance systems in the animal and public health sectors for zoonotic diseases/ pathogens.”

NAN reports that the  COVID-19 and health security accountability scorecard was developed through adaptation of selected indicators from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool.

This includes the approved budget and presentations, review of COVID-19-related government online dashboards, advocacy/retreat meetings with agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), media and young people.

The scorecard was developed to report CSOs review on Nigeria`s capacity on preparedness and response to health security and COVID-19.

It also serves as an evidence tool to be used by all stakeholders, including CSOs, media, advocates, young people and development partners.

This is to strategically influence actions that mobilise resources, promote prudent spending, transparency and accountability of COVID-19 health security funds. (NAN)

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Source: news