First State Technical Assistants Biannual Meeting, 5-8 November 2015

EU-SIGN has State Technical Assistants (STA) in the 23 EU-SIGN States and the FCT. The STAs work with the State Primary Health Care Development Agencies or Ministries of Health to implement activities and support policies to strengthen routine immunisation and primary health care in the States. They are key to EU-SIGN’s success.

From L-R are Dr Anne McArthur - TA Consortium from HPI), Dr MZ Mahmud (standing) - Director Logistics and Health Commodities, Aminata Sidibe - Training Contracting Advisor and Procurement Expert - and Dr Sofo Ali - Short-term Expert in Public Health during the Opening
From L-R are Dr Anne McArthur – TA Consortium from HPI), Dr MZ Mahmud (standing) – Director Logistics and Health Commodities, Aminata Sidibe – Training Contracting Advisor and Procurement Expert – and Dr Sofo Ali – Short-term Expert in Public Health during the Opening

The first Bi-annual Review Meeting for the STAs and their State counterparts was held in Abuja from 5-8 November. Representatives of major stakeholders (NPHCDA, MBNP, EUD, WHO, McKinsey & Company, CHAI, IVAC, UNICEF) attended all or parts of the meeting.

The Bi-annual meeting was an excellent opportunity to review the goals and objectives of the project’s second Operation Programme Estimate (OPE2); to review performance on routine immunisation and Primary Health Care Under One Roof in the States; and to review milestones, indicators and reporting tools. Dr. Attah, the EU-SIGN Immunisation Expert and Dr. Daniel Ali of WHO demonstrated several of the key immunisation monitoring and vaccine management tools and answered questions and provided clarifications.

Dr A. D Dawud, the National Focal Person for EU-SIGN, concluding his presentation
Dr A. D Dawud, the National Focal Person for EU-SIGN, concluding his presentation

Short-term Technical Experts (STEs) in Public Health and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) attended the meeting and presented on their recent work on community engagement, working with Civil Society and on the new EU-SIGN M&E strategy.

Several States prepared presentations on activities in their States and provided guidance to other States facing similar situations and challenges.

The fourth day of the workshop focused largely on administrative and financial issues and State Financial Officers joined the workshop. Mrs. Aminata Sidibe, Training and Contracting Advisor / Procurement Expert led an interactive session on OPE2 financial procedures and was able to answer participants’ questions on timesheets, debit note preparation and other issues. Team Leader, Dr. Lamiri reviewed job descriptions and expectations and also answered questions on procedures, challenges and solutions for successful implementation in the States.

The Team Leader, Dr Goli Lamiri, and Training Contracting Advisor and Procurement Expert, communing to resolve numerous questions arising from the presentation
The Team Leader, Dr Goli Lamiri, and Training Contracting Advisor and Procurement Expert, communing to resolve numerous questions arising from the presentation

The conduct of the first STA Biannual Meeting Review was, no doubt, a huge success based on full attendance, level of participation, presentation of all planned topics, understanding as revealed from evaluation reports/results of each session with corresponding score of over 70%. The strategic direction provided by the approved OPE2, will enhance the quality and speed of Project implementation at State and LGA levels.

The first day of the meeting received significant media coverage. The following clip from Channels Television provides an overview of the project and the meeting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTi6lcjVSBg

NPHCDA and EU-SIGN Meeting on Operations Research and the Establishment of an Operations Research Advisory Committee

lagos_L3The third result area of the EU-SIGN project is to improve information and knowledge generation for Routine Immunisation, which includes supporting Operations Research (OR) to inform and drive policy, planning and programme implementation.

EU-SIGN supported a meeting in Lagos from 28-29 October 2015 to define the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) research priorities and harmonise all research efforts of the different technical departments of the NPHCDA under the Operations Research (OR) Unit of the Department of Planning Research and Statistics (DPRS).

The meeting was presided over by Dr. Urua (Head of OR of NPHCDA) and participants included Representatives from the ED/CEO of NPHCDA, SWZ Coordinator, Dr. Olayinka Oladimeji, NPHCDA Staff, representative of Permanent Secretary (PS) LSPHCDB, Dr. F. O. Sanni, DPRS (LSMoH) and EU-SIGN TA team (Team Leader and Immunisation Expert).

From L-R are Dr Goli, Mr Jeff Mecaskey and Dr James Attah at the Lagos Operations Research meeting, 28-29 July 2015
From L-R are Dr Goli, Mr Jeff Mecaskey and Dr James Attah at the Lagos Operations Research meeting, 28-29 October 2015

To manage the different OR studies and to avoid duplication of efforts and research, an Operational Research Advisory Group (ORAG) was inaugurated at the meeting, with the NPHCDA taking a critical leadership role to shape a OR strategy. This earlier inauguration of ORAG and outcome of this meeting is one of the biggest legacies of the EU-SIGN project.

Other major achievements resulting from this meeting include:

  • The OR Research Unit of NPHCDA has been empowered as the centre for co-coordinating all research in NPHCDA to avoid duplication and to improve efficient use of resources.
  • The ORAG agreed to kick-start research proposal development with key timelines and responsible persons/bodies.
  • EU-SIGN strategic objective in contributing to positioning NPHCDA for OR was clearly outlined.
  • A draft work plan for OR was developed by the OR Unit of DPRS of the NPHCDA pursuance of the resolutions reached during the Lagos meeting.

Recommendations include:

  •  The DPRS should continue to pursue the NPHCDA research agenda as the leading agency in public health research.
  • NPHCDA should create a special fund for research purposes.
  • All partners should discourage segmentation of research through avoidance of vertical approach.
  • All stakeholders, especially ORAG members should support the nascent body (ORAG) to provide the strategic direction for the NPHCDA research agenda.