By Ediale Kingsley
The Kogi State Government has been awarded $1, 500, 000 by the World Bank to meet set health targets.
The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna Audu, represented Kogi State at the ceremonial launch event for the first disbursement of funds to states on the “Saving One Million Lives Program for Results” (SOML-PforR) of the Ministry of Health held on the 14th of July at the Lagos/Osun Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The SOML-PforR is an initiative aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality rates in the country by providing financing to the states based on the results they achieve. It is a response to the slow progress witnessed in the past in an attempt to curb this alarming situation of child and maternal death. That has been chiefly attributed to the focus being on the input rather than the results achieved therefrom.
The program is supported by a $500 million credit from the World Bank, which rewards states with an untied fiscal transfer (grant) from the Federal Government when they achieve improvements in the coverage and quality of key maternal and child Health (MCH) services. On the overall, 82% of the funds would be available to states based on their performance in four continuous disbursements, implying that any state that does not attain improvement at the end of the year would not receive any further funds from the Federal Government.
The Program Development Objectives (PDO) are “to increase the utilization and quality of high impact reproductive, child health and nutrition interventions”.
This disbursement of the funds and the implementation of the SOML-PforR objectives would be strictly monitored such that states that fail to meet up or who divert the funds to other uses, be they genuine or not, are likely not to get further disbursements next year. Moreso, States who perform the best in respective zones (called zonal champions) will receive additional $500,000 as reward for their effort! Further disbursements would be done based on an elaborate performance-based calculation plan contained in the program brochures.
The Honourable Commissioner for Health reiterated that the SOML-PforR is a peculiar health intervention program as it is developed with the principle of transparency and accountability.
He further states that the administration of His Excellency Governor Yahya Bello is committed to honoring memoranda of understanding, fulfilling counterpart funding and making sure that whatever fund or donation, received from the Federal Ministry of Health and development organizations is used strictly for the purpose it is meant for and therefore assures that not only would Kogi State be ready for the next disbursement, but aims to go beyond being just zonal champions but overall champions as all hands would be on deck in the State Ministry of Health and no stone would be left unturned in achieving the program set objectives.