PATA Urges CSOs to Increase Health Watch in the Society

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Rebecca Ejifoma

The Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA) in collaboration with Global Funds AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria projects in Nigeria and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) have called on Civil Society Organisations to increase health watch and monitor health facilities in the society.

The two-day building capacity workshop on organisational development for CSO Health Watch held in Ikeja, was to reawaken their call to service and their pledge to humanity.

According to PATA, they are training them to develop their organisations. CSOs were trained on how to take part in health watch around their communities and monitor health facilities, too. Their training cut across experiences on the field while attending to the needs of women with heavy health challenges like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The Executive Director of Health Matters Incorporated, Mr. Peter Ujomu, said it was time they called CSOs to order, as a way of reminding them to continue doing their proposals until they hit it. Adding, he said the influx of these organisations springing up daily with the agenda to make wealth has changed the main purpose of the body’s objective.

He, however, lauded PATA for bringing together these organisations. “This workshop, today, will not only remind them but will also re-educate them on their quests to serve humanity.”

Adding, Ujomu described the health watch workshop as perfect. “I think the trainees are in a better place to evaluate what they are learning and getting if it is in line with what they want and be able to evaluate the facilitators and each other’s contribution.”

The 25 CSOs were trained extensively on ‘developing systems and policies for organisation to manage staff and build strategies for long-term sustainability of services’, ‘Effective Strategies for monitoring AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria (ATM) projects in Nigeria/Experience sharing as GF sub-recipient’, ‘Understanding the Global fund in-country structure/How to access the GF as a principal or sub-recipient’, ‘Understanding your role as a CSO Health Watch member/code of conduct’ among others.

They included: YEF, NHIVMAS, WARDC, Arms of Comfort, JAAIDS, HMI, Youth Builders Initiative Foundation, CCM Nigeria, Visioa Spring Initiatives (VSI), CCYA, SOHAI, HAGAI, SWAAN and CRH among others.

According to Dr. Daniel Wilfred of Hygeia Nigeria Ltd, this workshop would prepare them
for the future. But most importantly, CSOs should stop complaining. “Rather know where you are directing your activism to. This is how you can contribute your own quota to the development of health matters in Nigeria.”

Wilfred spoke with them on the challenges of monitoring women, especially expecting mothers, who are HIV positive. He told CSOs that HIV is no longer a death sentence; hence, the need to assist the patients now more than ever.

Although CSOs complained that their greatest challenge is getting fund for their projects, they
were urged to communicate their problems with PATA or other experienced activists for a way out.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ibrahim Umoru from CCM Nigeria said that in years to come, “We need to have younger people stepping into our shoes and driving the CSOs activities round the country. Many more issues are coming up – the issues of child marriage, which we are beginning to deal with. We need to deal with that in a very conscious manner. Many more issues are being thrown up. Malaria is still a problem. Tuberculosis is still an issue and HIV is still a problem.”

Therefore, he assured that this gathering is about improving the skills of practitioners and activists “So that they will continue to do the work the way we have done over the years.”