In Niger, several advocacy efforts have been deployed in the health sector, including the parliamentary information day organised on 5 November 2019 by the World Health Organisation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health at the National Assembly. This meeting generated several commitments to these programmes, including support for the increase of the health budget, the launch and adoption of national policies for universal health coverage, dissemination of documents and messages, and follow-up on the implementation of recommendations.
However, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) remain a significant challenge. To protect children and communities, it is critical to intensify awareness-raising strategies to raise the profile of NTDs, and advocate for the systematic integration of NTD priorities at all levels of the health system. Beyond the mobilisation of resources, parliamentarians represent an essential support for the implementation of all national strategies, and also constitute a channel of awareness and advocacy with communities through their concrete involvement with structures at community level.
It was in this context that an advocacy meeting of parliamentarians from the Social and Cultural Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of Niger took place from 25-26 September 2021. This advocacy meeting was organised by the Ministry of Public Health, Population and Social Action through the National Programme for the Fight against NTDs (PNLMTN), with the support of World Vision; a member of the Act To End NTDs|WEST consortium with funding from USAID.
The primary objectives of this engagement are to appeal to parliamentarians for the mobilisation of internal resources for activities to combat NTDs in Niger, and also to advocate for the establishment of a parliamentary network to fight against NTDs. The parliamentary network's objective is, among other things, to strengthen the health system for the sustainability of achievements.
According to the chairman of the committee, the Honourable Assoumi TAHIROU, "It is time to act to eliminate these tropical diseases in Niger." He indicated that they will give their full support in the fight against NTDs.
The President of the Parliamentary Network for the Promotion of Health and Immunisation, the Honourable Soumana SANDA, said: "Judiciously, this advocacy meeting was held two days before the opening of the budget session during which many things can be taken into account."
As a reminder, the second ordinary session of the National Assembly for the year 2021 called budget session opened on September 27, devoted to the examination and vote of the finance law for the year 2022. Commitments were made on behalf of all members of the network to discuss the priorities and interventions against NTDs during the new budget session.
World Vision is present in six regions of the country, and provides support to vulnerable communities. The organisation implements responses through emergency activities covering sectors such as water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH), health and resilience to support the Government's efforts.
According to World Vision's National Director for Niger, Mr. Yves HABUMUGISHA, ''It is necessary to collaborate through community projects to defeat NTDs. And we thank USAID for placing its trust in World Vision through this funding."