Training On Universal Health Coverage, Health Financing And Budget Advocacy In Nigeria. – Joint Learning Agenda

In a bid to develop and provide training and support on budget advocacy and accountability in order to enhance health financing and UHC, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Financing Facility (GFF), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UHC 2030, and the Partnership for Maternal, New-born and Child Health (PMNCH) together with their local CSO constituencies, are working on a Joint Learning Agenda. The overall goal of this joint agenda is to build in-country capacity in health financing and to promote a multi-stakeholder collaboration that will hold, in a constructive way, governments and donors accountable for the level and use of funding allocated to health.

The Training of Trainers programme for Anglophone and Francophone African countries is part of this Joint Learning Agenda where the Executive Directors of Gem Hub Initiative and Journalists Against AIDS Nigeria were trained on Health Financing, UHC, Budget Monitoring and Advocacy. They were then supported and funded to conduct in-country training through WACI Health.

Gem Hub Initiative is the secretariat for this training in Nigeria. After a thorough selection process, 26 participants (Representatives from Civil Society Organizations, Media Houses, and Youth-led organizations from the six (6) geopolitical zones were trained over the course of a month. There were 2 phases, online and onsite training.


The first phase of the training was a virtual one, there were four (4) virtual sessions on the 10th, 12th, 17th, and 19th of August 2021. The concepts of Right to Health, UHC, and Health Financing were elaborated, alongside the global and regional conventions, as well as national constitutional provisions supporting the concept of UHC. This session was taken by Olayide Akanni, the Executive Director of Journalists Against AIDS Nigeria.

Oyeyemi Pitan, the Executive Director of Gem Hub Initiative took the participants through the overview of UHC in Nigeria. During the training, participants were tasked to present trends on health financing in their respective states and the possible impact on health outcomes. This was a very eye-opening session and we could relate health outcomes to the quality of funding as well as the political will to invest in health.

The training also dived into the impact of health financing sources on UHC.  It was agreed that domestic resource mobilization is the best funding source for health. Donor funding could be unpredictable, and mostly program based therefore may not align with the country’s priority or context. Out of Pocket Payment for Health, services is also not a good source of health financing because it does not protect the vulnerable in the society and may lead to the impoverishment of health care service users. However,  Domestic Resource Mobilization should be creative and innovative.


The In-person training is the second phase. It was held on the 26th -27th August 2021 at Ajuji Hotel in Abuja. Dr. Francis Nwachukwu Ukwuije; a Health Economist from World Health Organization, Nigeria took the session on Components and Dynamics of Heath Financing in Nigeria: Sources and implications for UHC. He reiterated the basic concepts of UHC and how health financing sources impact UHC. He amplified the importance of equity in the distribution of health resources and highlighted gaps and opportunities for targeted CSO advocacy. Dr. Francis was impressed that all participants had taken the WHO online certification course on UHC (It was one of the pre-requisite for selection).

Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba; the convener of the African Health Budget Network and public health and Budget Monitoring Expert had an interactive session with the participants on Budget Cycles and Systems as well as budget monitoring and advocacy. During his training, he charged CSOs to interrogate the budget to determine: If there is Efficiency, if funds are being allocated in order of importance, the difference and relationship between the capital expenditure and recurrent expenditure on health.

He also pointed out that advocacy has to be separated from activism and that the change that needs to be made should be the focus. Advocates are to identify allies/influencers and work with them for effective advocacy.

It was indeed a productive experience for all the participants and facilitators alike. We look forward to scaling up this training in order to train more Civil Society Organizations, Media Organizations, and Youth Representatives as well as support the trained organizations, to step down their own training to actors in their respective states.

Participants were asked to draw up work plans in addressing the gaps they have identified in their states., We cannot wait to take advocacy to states and local government areas where it is most needed for impact.

The participants had a very good time. See their comments on social media below”

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