Written by Asmau Ahmad (she/her)
The Africa Health Budget Network is thrilled to announce a grant of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000) from the Ford Foundation for core support to strengthen accountability for COVID-19 finances, and vaccines equitable access in Africa. Grant funds are available over A THREE-YEAR PERIOD BEGINNING APRIL 1, 2022. The Eight Targeted Countries are Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
“Accountability for COVID-19 finances remain a big challenge, due to inadequate access to public information regarding government’s COVID-19 spending in Africa…….the CSOs, media and general public need to know about the government intervention plans, coordination and accountability mechanisms, and flows of money to end users and key indicators to measure success of the COVID-19 response plans at country levels” says Dr Aminu Magashi Garba Coordinator of the Africa Health Budget Network
The project will lead to the following outputs; Targeted CSOs in eight countries (Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe) supported and developed their advocacy and accountability action plans for COVID-19 and health security. Capacity of CSOs, advocates and media in Africa are enhanced to meaningfully engage, demand and improve accountability and transparency of COVID-19 finances. Trained journalists in eight targeted countries improved visibility of COVID-19 and health security challenges via investigative journalism. Improved country learning/exchange of COVID-19 finances accountability at country and regional levels AND Improved partnership and collaboration with regional and international financing institutions to improve COVID-19 finances access to information that support advocacy and accountability.
The project expected outcomes are; Governments established biannual publications on COVID-19 finances and spending in the targeted countries. Governments regularly uploaded on its official websites’ information on COVID-19 finances and spending in the targeted countries. Governments developed domestic resources mobilization strategies for COVID-19 and health security AND Governments established mechanisms to utilize WHO technology to produce mRNA vaccines in targeted countries to increase equitable access to vaccine.
“African civil society organizations (CSOs) are not well informed about many of the international resources and financing coming to Africa for COVID-19 response. This compromises accountability, transparency and prudent spending of resources. Also, at country-level, many CSOs do not have a seat at the table on high-level government committees and taskforce on COVID-19 response, which makes it difficult to engage and hold government to account. There is also inadequate capacity of country CSOs to analyse international development partners’ financial support including grants and loans to Africa, as well as how to develop advocacy briefs and use such to engage and advocate for prudent spending, accountability and transparency. These are some of the issues this grant from Ford Foundation will address amongst others” says Mrs Maimuna Abdullahi Africa Health Budget Network’s Health Economist
We will convene the Africa Regional Post COVID-19 Accountability Summit aimed at promoting peer learning and exchange and bridging the gaps between advocates, relevant government and intergovernmental health agencies and international and regional financing institutions. We will also provide catalytic sub-grants to targeted African CSOs in the eight targeted countries. Grants will be used at country level to develop advocacy and accountability action plans for COVID-19, conducting advocacy meetings and visits to ministries of finance and health to promote accountability and transparency, conducting budget analysis for advocacy and development of briefs including infographics, support health journalists to undertake investigative journalism that promotes COVID-19 vaccine access and equitable distribution.
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About AHBN (https://africahbn.info/ )
The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) is an organisation that use budget advocacy and accountability to improve health service delivery in Africa. AHBN’s main purpose is to advance and embed improvements in health financing, transparency, participation, and accountability aimed to increase greater investment in health and wellbeing. AHBN was envisioned in 2006, founded in 2013 and launched in 2014. AHBN fosters transparent, accountable, sustainable, and innovative health financing for Africa by enabling African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Advocates to meaningfully influence investment that improves overall health and wellbeing. AHBN is legally registered and incorporated as ‘Africa Health Budget Initiative (AHBI)’, in the year 2018 in Nigeria. The two names are used interchangeably.