Strengthening health committees – Nigeria
In Kaduna state, Nigeria, Health Partners International is involved in the design and implementation of an initiative to strengthen the capacity of health committees. The aim is to enable the committees to play an active role in ensuring better health for all the community.
These committees, comprising community and health facility representatives, have existed for a number of years in the country, but many have fallen into inactivity.
With our support, the Ministry of Health is working in partnership with the Ministries of Women’s Affairs and Local Government to implement the initiative.
The capacity building support means that the health committees have been:
- encouraged to focus on what it means to represent community views
- shown how to effectively lobby health managers and elected representatives to ensure that health issues remain on local political agendas
- trained to undertake their own surveys of community perceptions of the quality of health services, and to work closely with their local health facility to find solutions to any problems they identify.
In a context where accountability of health providers downwards to communities is extremely weak, this initiative holds much promise for ensuring that communities have a stronger voice in the delivery of an essential public service.
It is hoped that over time services will become more responsive to client needs, and that utilisation rates will increase.