The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) officially launched a new learning resource, the Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness, on December 12 at an official side event to the Second International Conference on Public Health in Africa. Cosponsored by Resolve to Save Lives, the event brought together partners from GHAI’s Prevent Epidemics program to discuss the budget advocacy toolkit and lead participants in an interactive workshop.

Kemisola Agbaoye, Director of Programmes, Nigeria Health Watch.

Representatives from the Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development (LISDEL), Nigeria Health Watch, SEND Ghana, and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) joined the panel, moderated by Emmanuel Alhassan, PhD, GHAI Nigeria Coordinator, to discuss advocacy for domestic resource mobilization for epidemic preparedness, from the planning and strategizing to implementation and lessons learned.

Dr. Oyeladun Okunromade, Director of Surveillance & Epidemiology at NCDC discussed how, with the support of partners, targeted, consistent advocacy for health security at decision-makers and policymakers played a key role in ensuring that Nigeria prioritized epidemic preparedness funding through a dedicated budget line.

Juliana Abude-Aribo, Executive Director of LISDEL, spoke about how to approach creating a coalition of advocates, and the importance of tailoring advocacy strategies to on-the-ground contextual realities.

Kemisola Agaboye, Director of Programmes at Nigeria Health Watch, highlighted the critically important role that media plays in building political will for epidemic preparedness, including amplifying key issues in the health sector, as well as featuring policy champions for a consistent drumbeat of messaging.

Lastly, before breaking for the interactive workshop, Mohammed Tajudeen Abudulai, Program Officer at SEND Ghana, discussed how SEND has mobilized public support in Ghana through a citizens’ petition to request urgent government action to fund epidemic preparedness to implement Ghana’s National Action Plan for Health Security and protect against health threats in real time.

The panelists walked the audience through the four sections of the Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness – campaign planning, campaign implementation, budget accountability and budget sustainability. Each speaker emphasized the importance of working together and partnering with government to achieve their budget advocacy goals. Immediately following the discussion, the group broke into interactive workshop groups, where participants put their skills and knowledge to use against the toolkit’s framework.

Since 2018, GHAI has supported epidemic preparedness through Prevent Epidemics program work in Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana. The Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness was based on GHAI’s Budget Advocacy Framework for Increased and Sustained Epidemic Preparedness Investment, developed in 2021. The Toolkit and Framework are designed to support advocacy for increased and sustained domestic investments in epidemic preparedness.

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