Steering C’tee for $1.5 million Save-One-million-Life-Program Inaugurated in C’River

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Charles Ekanem|21 January 2017 DR BETTA Edu: we can save more than one million lives if we use the Fund Judiciously. The Saving One Million Lives Program for Results Committees for Cross River State was inaugurated today by the Honorable Commissioner of Health Dr Inyang Asibong. PforR is a $500million performance based program which incentives and rewards state governments for achieving results on key maternal and child health indicators. Speaking, Dr Asibong, Honorable Commissioner of Health said Cross River State need to be committed to this process because if the state performs better they will get 2 million US Dollars grant in 2018. She stated that the SOML initiative was conceived to save lives by using high impact innovative interventions to save lives of mothers and children. She said Cross River like any other benefiting state are expected to access funds based on performance results and noted  that the objectives of the PforR fit into the National Strategic health development agenda as well as the post 2015 development agenda. Speaking also, DG CRSPHCDA, Dr Betta Edu said following the economic recession, financial incentives have not been available for front line field workers.  "I know the moral of our foot soldiers is low but we hope with this we will be able to boost their moral so that we can achieve more results at the field and stand a chance of getting the improved funding next year.' According to her the $1.5Million grant allocated to the state is like a dream finally come true. It is like a mother that has been struggling with the labor stage since last year June and we are at the third stage of labour which involves delivery, stressing that it is a serious business and not business as usual. She Charged the committees to work hard and do what is verifiable and accountable. " It is our ability to attract those who need the health services that matters as we can save more than one million lives if we use this fund judiciously" said Dr Edu. Earlier Speaking, PforR Program Manager, Barr (Mrs) Lucy Bassey Enakirerhi, said Following the declaration of program effectiveness in May 2015, the Program Management Unit (PMU) with the support of the World Bank embarked upon a series of meetings with all states to ensure they have a thorough understanding of the program, the role of state governments, as well as, the implementation process in addition to being largely responsible for health service delivery, are the major beneficiaries of the Pfor R, receiving about 82% of the credit sum, hence the need to ensure their active engagement and participation. She said results will be measured by WHO and UNICEF standards with the most improved state within a zone earning an extra USD500,000, a national champion to get an extra $1Million, a state that achieves the required result will get $3Million and the states earn $500,000 for setting up the SPHCDA and an additional $300,000 for every year the budget execution is published. The committees include the Program Steering Committee to be headed by the Health Commissioner and has representatives of relevant bodies, partners and government parastatals including the DG of the CRSPHCDA as member and are responsible for the oversight and implementation of the PforR goals and are to meet at least twice a year. While the Technical Consultative Group which Permanent Secretary SMOH is the chairman is to meet quarterly and ensure that the vertical programs remain focused on results, data (Survey and Administrative) and is regularly analysed in detail with the issues identified as addressed. Present at the inauguration included State officials from SMOH including Commissioner of Health; Permanent Secretary, Director Public Health, Director Planning, Research & Statistics; and Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency including Director General,  Director of Primary Health Care as well as representatives of  State Ministry of Finance, Army, Navy. Representatives of development partners and non-governmental organizations included UNICEF,  PATHFINDERS,  WHO, UNFPA, AHF, USAID, SFH,  MARIE STOPES IN'T, HSDF and FHI were present, with strong representation from civil society and private sector players. Charles Ekanem
Writes from Calabar