CSOs unveil 2nd phase of COVID-19 fund management project

Connected Development and BudgIT, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have unveiled the second phase of the  COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability in Africa Project (CTAP).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CTAP advocates  for improved healthcare funding.

The project will also address the issues related with vaccine deployment and equitable distribution across focus countries.

Unveiling the project, Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer of CODE and founder “Follow The Money”, said that CTAP will also counter misinformation and disinformation around hesitancy to take COVID-19 vaccines in Africa.

Lawal said the move became necessary because   a lot of people were skeptical about taking  the vaccine in Africa.

He said that the project also seeks to promote accountability and Transparency through the tracking of COVID-19 intervention funds across 10 African countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Senegal, among others.

Lawal said that the phase one of CTAP was focused on accountability of how funds were generated, spent and implemented but phase two will focus on how to strengthen the healthcare sector.

Mr Hamzat Lawal (in white and a cap) during the unveiling
Mr Hamzat Lawal (in white and a cap) during the unveiling the second phase of the  COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability in Africa Project (CTAP)

He said that the second phase of the project would advocate for improved healthcare funding and address the issues related to vaccine deployment and equitable distribution across focus countries.

“The CTAP is a game changer. When COVID-19 first hit the world, Africa was not ready let alone the world, with CTAP, we helped to set a framework where government, civil society, the media and citizens engage under the framework of the open government partnership.

“Today, CODE in partnership with BudgIT and collaborations with Global Integrity and partners is launching the CTAP phase two and now expanding to 10 African countries, including Nigeria.

“Just two days ago, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Healthcare Development Agency as part of our commitment to CTAP.

“In that document, we have agreed that we will jointly track vaccine procurement, distribution and administration,” he said.

Lawal said that CTAP phase two would help to counter the misinformation and disinformation, while community leaders and actors would also be engaged in order to accelerate vaccine procurement and improve its administration.

He said this was because there was vaccine hesitancy in Africa which might have come to play partly due to the distrust by citizens because they feel there was lack of openness, transparency and accountability of all the income and expenditure of COVID-19 resources.

He said that the group’s long-term vision was to have robust African healthcare sector accountability and hopefully ensure that CTAP metamorphosed into a Pan African healthcare accountability framework.

He said that this would also help to inform the acceleration and achievement of the open government partnership which the President signed up to in 2016 in London.

Also, Mr Gabriel Okeowo, Country Director, BudgIT, said that the COVID-19 Africa platform created during phase one of the project would be enhanced to also collect information data about healthcare accountability and healthcare data across the countries of implementation.

Okeowo said the group was also looking at mobilising about 1.7million citizens digitally to be able to engage their governments to demand for health sector accountability.

He added that CSOs plan to engage 850, 000 citizens who could not access information digitally using tracka and follow the money platforms to carry out grassroots sensitisation.

This, he said was to empower and give platform opportunity to the voiceless.

“We plan to organise capacity building sessions for about 100 CSOs that would be drawn from these countries in partnership.

“We will use community champions and volunteers in building local community leaders that can give report about healthcare system in their local community.

“What we are doing is not to take the place of government, it is to bridge the gap, it is to support the overall agenda of government for improved governance.’’

BudgIT logo
BudgIT, also tracking COVID-19 funds

Okeowo also said that the CSOs would seek to expand the scope to see how it could collaborate with open government partnership, a global platform for many governments to align with the principles of open government across the globe.

Read also: Nigerian CSO emerges world summit award 2021 winner

Ms Iyanu Fatoba, BudgIT’s Communications Associate, said that both organisations would conduct research on the post COVID environment.

Fatoba said these, include the distribution of health sector resources, the government’s commitment to healthcare funding, vaccine procurement plans and issues affecting the equitable distribution in Africa.

She said that this was with a special focus on vulnerable groups in terms of commercial activity and socioeconomic status.

She said that COVID-19 transparency and accountability project was instrumental in strengthening its fund accountability frameworks and devising strategies that enhance citizen-led advocacy for reforms.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng


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