CIVIL SOCIETY URGES APC TO SIGN HEALTH MANIFESTO
In March this year civil society, namely Health Alert, Save the Children, and the Budget Advocacy Network, began engaging registered political parties on key health issues in the lead up to the November elections. A ‘Health Manifesto’ was developed by civil society, and presented to six political parties – PMDC, NDA, UDM, APC, SLPP and the RUFP.
The ‘Health Manifesto’ calls on political parties to factor into their election manifestos three key issues –
1. A public commitment that, if elected to govern, at either District or National level, they will maintain the Free Healthcare Initiative, specifically the provision of the Basic Package of Essential Health Services, free of charge, for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children under five.
2. A clear and tangible plan as to how they will achieve the Abuja Target, allocation of 15% of the total government budget to health, by 2015.
3. Adequate staffing of rural and remote health facilities.
All registered political parties have been very responsive to the ‘Health Manifesto’ and have agreed to incorporate it into their election manifestos. While all parties have been enthusiastic about the ‘Health Maniefesto’, not all have signed the pledge card documenting their commitment. We appreciate the efforts of SLPP, UDM, NDA, and PMDC in signing the pledge card.
Despite the current Government’s commitment to health, the APC have not yet signed the pledge card and fully commit themselves to the Health Manifesto. We are urging the APC to sign the pledge card immediately. Mami en pikinwelbodi must be at the forefront of all election manifestos.
For those parties that have signed, it is not over yet!
Health Alert, Save the Children, and the Budget Advocacy Network, will be taking a close look at the party manifestos as they are shared with the public over the coming months, to ensure that that which the parties have committed to is reflected in their manifestos.
We are also reminding those parties that have signed the pledge card that they committed to providing a ‘clear and tangible plan as to how they will achieve the Abuja Target of 15%’. It is not enough that parties have committed to the target; we are expecting to see a plan of action as to how the budget for health will be increased over the next few years.
Vote Welbodi 2012.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.