The Development Research and Projects Centre (DRPC) joined other civil society groups from the African continent to dialogue on safeguarding and strengthening the role of civil society organisations in human and environmental health in Africa.
The groups met at the 6th Annual Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) conference in Dakar, Senegal.
In a statement signed by the dRPC’s country director, Dr Judith-Ann Walker, the conference brought civil society groups from across the continent to discuss and proffer solutions to tackle the impact of practices, challenges and policies and how they are impacting on the continent’s human and environmental spaces.
In his keynote address at the conference, Professor Mamuoda Ndiaye of the University of Dakar, called on African civil society organisations to deepen the public health policy advocacy capacities and strategies.
“African civil society organisations are urged to ensure that governments shift health funding sources away from aid and loans and toward innovative domestic funding sources that prioritise health… .To achieve this goal, African civil society organisations (CSOs) need help strengthening their policy and budget advocacy skills.” he said
In her presentation, the director family health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Salam Anas Ibrahim, stated that: “Through a series of strategic engagements and partnerships, PAS has contributed to the launch of important policy documents such as the family planning Blueprint, FP2030 agenda, the Task shifting, and Task sharing policy and supported the implementation of maternal and child health interventions both at the National and subnational level”
On their part, the PACFaH@Scale NGO leaders at the session (from Alumni Association of the National Institute AANI-Lagos and Medical Women Association of Nigeria Kano) put on record the project’s contribution to capacity development of their organisations, positioning these civil society groups to take up leadership roles in the policy advocacy space.
The conference ended on a high note with closing remarks from a leading Nigerian scholar on civil society in Africa, Professor Eghosa E. Osaghae whose scholarly reflections were complemented by a call to action by African civil society organisations present.
These groups called on national governments and regional bodies to put in place new and more meaningful structures to include civil society in decision making platforms.
This, they argued would facilitate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 3, the Health goal. Participants also called on national governments to integrate the rich and robust data generated by civil society groups into the decision making process on public health policy in Africa.