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Economy - Development | Health

Nigeria strengthens its health systems

afrol News, 20 October - Abt Associates has today been awarded a US$250 million contract for transforming health systems in Nigeria, by United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID).

The six-year contract calls for Abt Associates to lead a group of organisations in reforming and strengthening health system in up to six states, besides supporting Federal Ministry of Health in transforming health services in Nigeria.

Contract, PATHS2, represents a major development effort by DFID that seeks to enhance long-term impact of aid investment by requiring alignment among companies and projects, country ownership of development policies and strategies, and stronger accountability mechanisms.

Design of PATHS2 is said to attempt to address problems such as scrappy and poorly coordinated donor approaches that reduce effectiveness of health support.

A formal announcement and launch of project in Nigeria by DFID will take place in near future.

The contract calls for Abt Associates and its partners to improve financing, management, and delivery of sustainable health services in Nigeria.

With half of Nigeria's 140 million citizens living in poverty, development and health challenges are said to be numerous.

While PATHS programme has reportedly demonstrated that service delivery and utilisation can be improved through policy reforms and capacity building interventions, these achievements will not be sustained unless overall governance of the health sector, and related sectors, is improved.

Approach of Abt Associates-led team will be to focus on improving governance, by changing systems and processes that affect manner in which key political and bureaucratic institutions operate; catalysing partnerships among public, private, and community stakeholders that will propel change; and creating synergies across the five PATHS2 outputs and DFID's other health programmes.

"PATHS2 is primarily a health governance program. Champions of change at all levels are critical in the creation of a social contract between governments, public and private providers and civil society to build sustainable, pro-poor structural and institutional health reforms," said Pamela Rao, Abt Associates' PATHS2 Project Director.

Ms Rao added that, "our objective is to bring about systemic change that will directly contribute to Nigeria's ability to use its own resources efficiently and effectively to meet health related Millennium Development Goals. We think this is an excellent opportunity to implement a new approach to development, one that improves aid effectiveness in keeping with the goals of the Paris Declaration to improve donor coordination and harmonisation."

Abt Associates is a recognised leader in health systems strengthening and oversight of large complex international development projects.

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