The Nigeria Citizen Hearings 

The National Citizen Hearing brought together 125 Citizens, representatives from government, the private sector, donors and women’s and children’s health professionals to develop citizen led recommendations for national health priorities and improved accountability. There was a strong call for more focus on how citizens can meaningfully engage and next steps will be to ensure the newly elected government listen to these recommendations.

This Citizens hearing is needful at this point in time and I am happy to be a part of it, Citizens are getting well informed to hold their leaders accountable and part of decision making
— H.E Hon. Justice Mary Odili, Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
There is no platform where civil society is holding Government accountable for commitments. This should be a priority in the next SDGs and new Global Strategy
— Citizen, Nigeria
Dr.Francis_WRANigeria.png
The citizens hold the most powerful office in the country “the office of the citizens” and should use that office to hold Government to account
— Dr. Francis Ohanyido, WRA Nigeria

The Citizen Recommendations

CRITICAL ISSUES DISCUSSED/ RAISED
•    A lot of investment has been made in the health sector but no one really knows what it is used for because there is no accountability mechanism to monitor what is been done
•    A lot has been done in the aspect of RMNCH, but irrespective of the achievements the rate of death during childbirth is still high. As SDG is coming up, certain people ought to be held accountable for things that must be done. 
•    There is a huge difference between what government is saying and what the citizens are experiencing. There should be a platform for citizens to hold government to their words in the next SDGs
•    There is no point for a strategy without an accountability framework in place
•    What platform is Government giving the youth in reproductive health?
•    Despite the skilled workers in the hospitals, death of children at early stage is still high, this is because doctors are overloaded with work and they become harsh and hostile on the long run. Some health workers are not skilled enough to detect certain problems at an early stage.
•    Quality of care should go beyond child birth to taking care of the child at early stage, this goes a long way in determining everything about a child in future
•    High demand of health care services in Nigeria
•    Failure of service delivery

RECOMMENDATIONS
Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health
•    Strengthen community based maternal deaths surveillance and response so that every woman who dies during pregnancy and childbirth within the community can be accounted for and the cause of her death can be identified and addressed. 
•    Strengthen accountability  in the  maternal health care delivery through the use of quality assurance/quality improvement tools
•    A clear accountability framework for the Global Strategy for Women and Health. This framework should incorporate social accountability and budget tracking
•    Implement legislative policies that will ensure  respectful maternity care to uphold the dignity and  rights of  women during pregnancy and childbirth
•    Remove financial barriers to maternal and child health care encountered at the service delivery points. Such barriers include user fees and purchase of consumables for childbirth
•    Emphasize rights education in RMNCH to enable women understand their rights and demand for them
•    Educate citizens on the tools and strategies that will enable them to engage the government  in RMNCH social  accountability and budget tracking
•    Provide platforms where citizens can engage with the government, advocate for better quality care and channel concerns about the quality of care received in both public and private health care facilities. 
•    Universal access to family planning  
•    The youth wants to be adequately involved as an important part of the process in reproductive health
•    Effective service delivery of health centers

Recommendations regarding sustainable development goals; 
•    Incorporate accountability as one of the SDGs to emphasize civic participation in governance and accountability
•    Institute mechanisms that will allow citizens to participate in the country-level  implementation of the SDGs
•    Mainstream environmental sustainability into the SDGs
•    There should be an accountability framework alongside every commitment made
•    Economic policy on health
•    There should be a strong link between the civil society representatives and the parliamentarians for continuous dialogue
•    A good communication structure should be created in the new SDGs where citizens can lay their complains and experiences
•    Provision of medical lawyers should be included in the SDGs to give volunteer services to citizens on their right to hold Government accountable. 
•    We can’t hold responsible what we don’t know; knowledge dissemination should be a strong component of accountability mechanisms. 
•    Include a goal to curb issues affecting adolescents globally especially in Africa which has the largest youth population in the world relative to other regions
•    The government should make a law on consumer protection.

LEADERS/ PROFESSIONALS RESPONSE
•    MDG started with no accountability framework and we have the opportunity to change that towards the next SDGs that why we are having this hearing.
•    There is a huge need for civil participation in the next SDGs, and citizens can use social media platform to make their opinions known
•    Civil questionnaires can be created in hospitals for citizens to put down their experiences and collated by citizens and forwarded to appropriate channels rather than waiting for Government to set up a mechanism
•    It is the right of citizens to ask questions and always ask for their right. Citizens should speak out when Government is not fulfilling their promises and commitments because institutions don’t see themselves as accountable but if citizens start demanding for their rights this will make government more accountable.
•    The citizens hold the most powerful office in the country “the office of the citizens” and should use that office to hold Government to account. All structure in place should be adequately reported, including the accountability framework for each structure.
•    We can’t hold responsible what we don’t know, the citizens should get knowledgeable about policies and what Government is doing