Meet PITCH Country Focal Point Anthony Nkwocha from Nigeria
First published in October 2018
Each month we ask one of the PITCH country focal points to share some highlights of their work. This month we are pleased to have Anthony Nkwocha from Nigeria.
What are the top three advocacy successes achieved in PITCH in your country to date?
Firstly, it will be the successes in stopping the President from accenting to a bill aimed at removing the judges’ discretion on matters on drugs and increasing drug possession/use offences to a minimum of 25 years jail term.
Secondly, the commitment shown by the government, through our advocacy, to consider reducing the age of consent for accessing HIV testing services from 18 to 14 years. This is a significant moment of change that we are working concertedly to have reflected in the appropriate policy.
Thirdly, our advocacy on the UPR has received lot of interest from permanent missions in Geneva as well as from foreign embassies in Nigeria in making recommendations to Nigeria to improve its health system, especially in relation to creating unhindered and non-discriminatory access to SRHR and HIV services to all citizens.
Who are your two most important allies?
The Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).
Name one thing that has surprised you in PITCH since you started your role.
I was surprised that most organisations including some PITCH Nigeria partners do not understand the crucial role advocacy plays in ensuring that discrimination free and an inclusive access to SRHR and HIV services is reached.
What is the most important global and/or national policy event for your country in the next year?
The formal adoption of the UPR recommendations, and the opportunity to hold government accountable to the commitments it made while accepting recommendations. In our UPR advocacy, we have tried to mainstream our proposed recommendations into the broader discussions around the UHC, and will be strategically following up on these in the coming year.
What is the top change you hope to see in your country before the end of PITCH?
I hope to see a Nigeria where healthcare, especially SRHR and HIV services, is available, comprehensive, accessible and all inclusive. A situation where individuals’ right to health is not violated based on behavioural patterns (such as drug use), sexual orientation and gender identity, choice of business (such as sex work) or age.
Name one thing you have learned through working in PITCH that you didn't know before. I have learnt that coordinating people is difficult, and creativity is needed to understand people first as individuals, and then, people as staff of organisations. This discovery, though something I must have read in psychology books, is more interesting as I encounter it daily in my work life.