Packaging Evidence

Decision makers in sub-Saharan Africa are more accountable than ever before. Through MamaYe, civil society and health partners are armed with the skills, resources and evidence to demand their governments meet their financial and political commitments.

Our take on the issue

Holding leaders to account, ensuring that there is transparent, evidence-based and participatory planning and tracking of health resources is critical to improving the health outcomes for women, children and adolescents at all stages of their lives.

Evidence provides the ‘raw material’ for accountability. Data leads to insights into planning and tracking of health resources. It enables communities, civil society and health workers to demand action for improved reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health (RMNCAH) and it facilitates effective decision-making processes.

Decision makers are welcoming these insights as a way to enhance support for the resources that health systems need. They recognise that advocacy has the power to speed up quality improvements, but they need support in building a culture of accountability across the multiple sectors within and beyond the health system.

We’re in the middle of a data revolution, with more information about health services and outcomes than ever before. Yet, throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of accessible, relevant and timely data is causing a major barrier to adequate decision-making when prioritising and allocating the health resources that are necessary to ensure the quality of care that will ultimately save lives.

Sustainable Development Goal 17.16 (SDG17.16) calls for multi-stakeholder partnerships that form the foundation for accountability. The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents' health lays out a framework for accountability and reports on it annually through its Independent Accountability Panel.

What mamaye is doing

At MamaYe we believe that for data to have the power to bring about vital changes for women and babies, it needs to be presented in formats that are creative and easy to understand – such as infographics and scorecards.

We embrace a partnership approach, involving communities in the planning and tracking of health resources. We work with health planners to ensure that they have the equipment and supplies necessary for mothers and babies. We arm civil society with the skills and resources to demand those in power take responsibility and make necessary changes to drive quality improvements.

In Nigeria, we’ve made accountability ‘real’ by creating State Led Accountability Mechanisms (SLAMs). State governments use SLAMS as an opportunity for transparency, by enabling civil society to actively participate in the monitoring and planning of health services. Media partners are key members of the SLAM – they ensure health data and decisions are reported widely in newspapers and local radio.

In Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Malawi and Tanzania, we support health managers to develop scorecards for tracking the performance of the health system. These scorecards are also used by communities to hold leaders to account for the quality and reach of health services and to influence decision-making.

In Kenya, we’re building the capacity of civil society in Nairobi and Bungoma county to participate at all stages of health planning and budgeting processes – consultation, decision making, dissemination and review.

We are now emphasising downward accountability [...], we are changing the attitude of the officers so that they are more accountable to the community, not just their bosses.
Frank Mkandawire,
Director of Planning