Evidence-based planning in Nigeria

Two states, Bauchi and Cross River, are improving their health information and planning systems by focusing on maternal, newborn and child health outcomes rather than service provision as part of our Nigeria social audits.

The project seeks to improve the health information and planning system by focusing on health outcomes rather than service provision. The intention is to deliver better primary health care services and ultimately better health. The project improves health information and builds capacity to use evidence and link it to planning such that resources are allocated to make a difference.

In April 2006, a demonstration social audit of health services performance and service needs demonstrated a tool for policy makers and donors that could improve the quality of health services and minimise system leakage.

The first evidence-gathering cycle on maternal outcomes began early in 2009 and identified risk factors associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

A follow up to this first cycle is a pilot programme called the community surveillance system, which focuses on door-to-door visits to pregnant women in one local government authority, Giade, in Bauchi state.

The second evidence-gathering cycle began in early 2011, on the subject of childhood illnesses and nutritional status.

The third cycle, in 2013, focused on primary health care. Besides generating evidence, the cycle had a strong focus on mainstreaming the work into the system and on sustainability.

Based on the results of each data collection cycle, we help to develop communication strategies directed at communities, health workers, decision makers at state level and civil society. We call this socializing the evidence for participatory action (SEPA). SEPA activities are happening in a randomly-selected sample of three local government authorities in each state, which serve to demonstrate the positive health and equity consequences of this multi-stakeholder information and planning system.

An important component of the project, human capacity development for evidence-based planning, helps improve local and state government capacity for results-based management of health.

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