Group seeks partnership to improve delivery of ATM at PHCs, combat GBV, gender barriers, others

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Lawrence Nwimo, Awka

Coalition of Civil Societies for the Eradication of Tuberculosis in Nigeria (TB Network) has solicited for partnership with Anambra state government and other relevant Agencies for the improvement of Service delivery needs of the citizens of Anambra in HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis, and Malaria commonly called ATM.

The group also advocated for the eradication of gender-based violence, human rights and other related issues in the state.

During a separate advocacy visits to the State Ministry of Health and the Women Development Centre, respectively, in Awka, the State Advocacy Team (SAT) of the group emphasized need to scale ATM services at the PHCs, and amplify actions against the growing cases of Gender-based violence and the need to scale up fight against it in the state.

In Anambra state, the TB Network is the lead network engaged as one of the civil society networks on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM Networks) by the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA) to implement the Civil Society and community component of the COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) grant in 21 states of which Anambra State is inclusive.

Speaking during the visits, The State Coordinator of TB Network, Mrs Ifenyinwa Unachukwu explained that strategic interventions would be employed to tackle gender-based violence and other related barriers to services in the state.

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She said other strategic interventions relating to responses to human rights, Community-Led Monitoring and Advocacy as well as Social Mobilisation would be implemented during the period of the project.

Mrs Unachukwu further said the one-year C19RM Grant for the January to December 2024 period was being implemented through National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), while coalition of the Civil Society Networks on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM Networks) in Nigeria was supporting the intervention.

Speaking during the Advocacy engagement, the C19RM RSSH Anambra State Program Officer (SPO), Onyekachi Ololo said implementing the community component of the grant was aimed at increasing community ownership of the PHCs, while addressing ATM service gaps at the PHC facilities and reducing factors that result to disruption of essential health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in preparedness for future pandemics and epidemics.

“TB Network as the lead network amongst the ATM Networks in Anambra State will coordinate Community Based Organisations (CBOs) efforts on oversight, sustained advocacy to decision makers particularly at the state and LGAs levels, monitoring and evaluating results, participating in policy formulation and in mobilizing resources for COVID-19 and ATM health interventions.

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“Throughout the duration of this grant, TB Network will be working in 5 selected LGAs with reportedly high COVID-19 and ATM disease burdens as well as GF facilities that are currently rendering COVID-19 vaccines and services.

“The Community-led Monitoring and Advocacy efforts will be implemented at the LGA and state level by 15 CBOs through Community-Led Monitoring Teams (3 members of the CLMT per LGA).

“Each Community-Led Monitoring Team (CLMT) comprises a representative of the Ward Development Committee (WDC) or CHIPs; a Community Representative and a Program staff of the CBO.

“The issues that arise from the activities of the CLMTs that cannot be resolved at the community level are escalated to serve as advocacy issues on which the State Advocacy Team will engage with relevant MDAs and stakeholders for possible resolution at the state level.

“To achieve the objectives of the C19RM Grant, the following strategic interventions will be implemented throughout the duration of the project: Gender-Based Violence and Post-Violence Care; Response to Human Rights and Gender-Related Barriers to Services and Community-Led Monitoring and Advocacy as well as Social Mobilisation,” Ololo said.

Responding, HOD, Child Department of Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Aniesona Ekene, said the ministry is ever ready to work with groups working to improve the welfare of children and guarantee the safety of women and other vulnerable groups in the state.

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She also encouraged the ATM networks to ensure close communication with the ministry while sharing regular updates on the cases of victims, perpetrators, and survivors of Gender-based violence identified in the communities.

On her own, State Coordinator, Adolescent Health and Gender Equity, Evelyn Ekeh, said her office and ministry is committed to working with the ATM networks’ SAT towards the Community System Strengthening approach for a more developed communities in Anambra state.

She said the commissioner of health had approved additional Sexual Abuse Referral Centers in the other 2 senatorial zones of the state and highlighted that with the centres operational, the work and case overburden of those at Ntasi Centre, Enugwu Ukwu would show sign of relief.

These steps are efforts to show that issues of healthcare system strengthening and ending gender based violence in the state is at the top agenda of the State government which they as civil servants are obligated to key in to ensure that the government succeeds, she concluded.

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