Dr. Aminu Magashi, the coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), has urged Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, the coordinating minister of health and social welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, the minister of state for health, and Daju Kachollom, the permanent secretary, to reactivate the bimonthly media engagements that were previously held to discuss and update Nigerians on developments in the health sector.
He hinted that AHBN signed an agreement with the Ministry of Health on the bimonthly briefing to disseminate health messages to the Nigerians.
Magashi, who made the appeal in Abuja at the sidelines of a courtesy visit paid on him by the newly elected executive members of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists, (ANHEJ) noted that the practice is one that enhances feedback with the populaces, as well as, engenders accountability.
He stated that :”The last 2 years, we have been supporting the bimonthly press briefing at the Ministry of Health, and we found that meeting productive and engaging in the sense that the Minister of Health and all the head of MDAs with the Chief Executive Officers in the health sector will sit down in every two weeks or every month to provide updates of what us going on in the health sector in Nigeria about COVID-19, health security, family planning, and so many in the country.”
“Engaging the media on a quarterly basis has become productive and, at the same time, very useful to Nigerians whereby we know what is going on in every aspect of our healthcare system.
“That has become a transparent and accountable process where ministers provide updates and the CEOs of the health sector.”
“I think it’s important to revive that press briefing with the coordinating minister of health, the minister of state, and SA to the president on health to provide updates.”
“When the political players talk to the media, in the bimonthly meeting, indirectly, they are talking to Nigerians because it is through the media that ordinary Nigerians would get updated.”
“I call on the new Minister of Health, Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, and all the team to activate that regular press conference.”
Magashi also applauded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his initiative of adding the Social Welfare arm to the Ministry of health, which according to him, will better the health outcomes for Nigerians, since welfare plays a big role in the wellness of the populace.
Also, the Engagement and Partnership Lead of AHBN, Oyeyemi Pitan gave a collaboration effort going on with CSOs, Youth, and Media in monitoring the implementation of all government commitments to the health and well-being of women, children, and adolescents in Nigeria.
She said all stakeholders must be involved to develop a collaborative advocacy action plan to ensure commitments are of good quality and implemented promptly.
“The role of media in this is key and we trust you are with us to ensure our advocacy messages get to the right quarters.” She said.
Earlier, the President of ANHEJ, Comrade Joseph Kadiri, thanked AHBN for its steadfast support through the years
He also pledged the new leadership’s readiness to work closely with AHBN as is been the culture to provide visibility for the work they do over the years and appealed that AHBN extend its usual support to the new EXCOs.