Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, and other critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s health sector have called on the Oyo State government to strengthen CSOs’ involvement to improve Routine Immunization, RI, and increase utilisation of COVID-19 vaccines in the state.

The call was made as part of their recommendations at the end of a two-day review and validation meeting of COVID-19 and Health Security Accountability Scorecards for Oyo State, with CSOs, young people and the media, organised by the African Health Budget Network, AHBN.

The CSOs urged the Oyo State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, OSPHDA, to strengthen community and CSOs’ involvement to increase utilization of COVID-19 vaccines, improve routine immunization performance and support factual public information on COVID-19 in the state.

The recommendations released by CSOs called on the Oyo State government to make available resources and institutionalize financing mechanism for health security, including COVID-19 equitable recovery.

They equally taskee the state government on the availability of adequate COVID-19 vaccines in all the state’s vaccination centers, aimed at increasing uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, just as they also called for the engagement of the state Ministry of Health for collaboration to monitor/track allocation, donors support, loans and government releases for health security and COVID-19.

Dr Musa Muhammad Bello, Department of Community Medicine, Bayero University/Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, said, “The state government should ensure that the state ministries of health and finance publish the state government’s 2020, 2021 and 2022 COVID-19 and Health Security expenditure report.

“The federal government must find ingenious ways to improve routine immunization coverage in the state. It is also important to call for the prompt release of all budgeted funds for immunization related activities.

“This is important because it will enable the state and the country at large to have a healthy population.”

The COVID-19 and health security accountability scorecard were developed through adaptation of indicators from the World Health Organisation, WHO, Joint External Evaluation and tool for evaluation of International Health Regulation, IHR, secondnd edition, review of government documents, including budget and presentations, review of COVID-19 related government online dashboards, advocacy/retreat meetings with relevant government agencies, CSOs, media and young people.

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

The scorecard serves as an evidence tool to be used by all stakeholders, including CSOs, professionals, media, advocates, young people and development partners to strategically influence actions that will mobilize resources, promote prudent spending, transparency and accountability of COVID-19 and health security fund.

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