Kano, Nigeria’s most populous state, is working to improve epidemic preparedness and response (EPR) through a series of new investments backed by a coalition of public health advocates with support from the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).

On August 2, the Kano State Executive Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje approved the release of 30 million Naira (approximately USD$73,000) from the state’s new 300 million Naira EPR budget line. Further releases are expected in the coming weeks to support cholera response and strengthen the state’s disease surveillance and diagnostic capacity. An additional 250 million Naira (approximately USD$607,000) was allocated for the establishment of a Kano State Public Health Laboratory. Separately, the 44 local government areas (LGAs) in the state agreed to allocate 2 million Naira each to strengthen EPR-related activities, increasing EPR spending by 88 million Naira. The new allocations were supported by a civil society campaign led by our partners — the Legislative Advocacy Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL), BudgIT and a coalition of civil society organizations organized by LISDEL called the Kano State Health Security Advocacy Team.

Kano state officials and advocates attend an EPR financing forum and award ceremony for EPR champions in Abuja.

GHAI supports epidemic preparedness budget advocacy at the federal, state and local levels in Nigeria. Over the past year, LISDEL, BudgIT and Nigeria Health Watch generated awareness and support for epidemic preparedness funding through a variety of events and activities, including a series of social media activities, news articles and radio announcements in Kano. GHAI and its partners regularly engaged with political leaders, including members of the Kano state legislature and decision-makers from the ministries of health and of local government and chieftaincy affairs.

In February, LISDEL recognized several public figures — including Dr. Amina Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, an epidemiologist and member of the Kano State Taskforce on COVID-19 — for their leadership and the critical role as EPR champions. The Hon. Commissioner for Health Dr. Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa used the occasion to discuss the newly created state EPR budget line and decision by the 44 LGAs to allocate additional funds to strengthen EPR-related activities.

“If there is anything we have learnt from this COVID-19 era, it is the importance of preparedness and the importance of health financing for health security,” Dr. Tsanyawa said at the award ceremony in Abuja.

GHAI will continue to support efforts to increase EPR investments and accountability in Kano and across Nigeria. The campaign is using a tool designed by LISDEL, BudgIT and the Kano State Health Security Advocacy Team to track EPR spending, examine program efficiency and effectiveness, and support efforts to invest in EPR on a continuing basis.

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