Maternal, Newborn, Child Health: We Are On Track -FG

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has stated that the Federal government was doing everything possible to finance healthcare towards the universal health coverage and was on track to improve Maternal, Newborn and Child health indices of the country.

Dr. Ehanire made the assertion while delivering his keynote address at the National Advocacy Meeting With Commissioners Of Health on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent And Elderly Health plus Nutrition Multi-Stakeholders Partnership Coordination Platform(RMNCAEH+N, MSPCP) And Inauguration Of The National Adolescent Health And Development Technical Working Group(NAHD-TWG) on Thursday, November 11, 2021 in Abuja.

TheFact Nigeria gathered that data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa showed that one in seven global maternal deaths occur in Nigeria.

The Health Boss posited that the time was ripe to halt preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths in the country and that the government was taking the right steps to achieve that.

He said: “with a program like this, we are on track to improve the health indices of the country. It is necessary at this critical time in our history as we make efforts to
reverse the unacceptably high burden of maternal, newborn and child mortality to embark on programs like this”, Ehanire said.

He recalled that RMNCAEH+N MSPCP, was launched on October 12, 2020, to improve coordination, strengthen partnership and enhance accountability to achieve effective technical delivery and maximize outcomes. He noted that since, the launch, modest progress had been made in both the development and launch of the annual operational plan 2021.

He disclosed that efforts in implementation of RMNCAEH+N AOP at the national level, in partnership with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other implementing partners had started and remarkable progress had been made towards improving coordination within government structures, like the NPHCDA, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Recalling the progress made so far in advocacy efforts, he commended states who had made significant efforts towards RMNCAEH+N and urged the Commissioners of Health of the various states present to replicate the same structure in their respective states. He said:

“In line with our commitments to strengthen structures at sub-national levels, we are advocating and making efforts to strengthen coordination of RMNCAEH+N nationwide, focusing on 16 carefully selected states, based on criteria such as the burden of RMNCAEH+N mortality and morbidity, Partner support and geographical spread.

“I urge Commissioners here present to replicate the same structure in their respective states as approved by previous National Council of Health (NCH).

“I recognise states that have established Family Health Departments namely; Lagos, Gombe and Ondo and observe that these states have made progress in better coordination and service delivery, compared to states, yet to establish this structure that is crucial to ensuring effective delivery of RMNCAEH + N services”, he stated.

Going further, The Minister reiterated that the Federal Government was resolute in ensuring access to quality healthcare to Nigerians, including vulnerable groups such as adolescents which he said were too tender to shoulder the responsibility of birthing and caring for children when they themselves needed to be taken care of.

Cross section of dignitaries and participants at the inauguration.

Revealing the burden of adolescent maternal deaths in the country, Dr. Osagie said: “Adolescents make up a significant proportion (22%) of the population of Nigeria. The National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2018 shows that Maternal Mortality Ratio is 512 per 100,000 live births and adolescent contributes 40% to these deaths.

“The newly inaugurated National Adolescent Health and Development Technical working group is expected to provide technical guidance to the Federal Ministry of Health towards implementation of Adolescent Health and Development (AHD)Policy to improve the health and wellbeing of adolescent and young people in the country”, he explained.

The Minister who inaugurated the New National Adolescent Health And Development Technical Working Group stated that they were selected based on expertise and diversity.

He announced that the Chairperson and Co-Chairperson of the group were Prof. Adesegun Fatusi and Dr. Fatima Adamu respectively. Other members of the group were drawn from Young People led Organisations, Academics, Professional Associations and Bodies, Partners, Organisations, Adolescent Focal Persons at Subnational levels, Media groups, Disability associations and Religious bodies.

He enjoined them to focus on the task ahead and assured them of his Ministry’s full support.

Other dignitaries present at the meeting/ inauguration included: The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr. Mahmuda Mahman, Director, Department of Family Health, Dr. Salma Ibrahim Anas, Emir of Shonga, Chairman RMNCAEH + N Core Group, Dr. Haliru Yahaya, Health Commissioners of Gombe, Kaduna, Niger, Borno, Abia and Nassarawa state Dr. Habu Dahiru, Dr. Amina Mohammed Baloni, Mohammed Mohammed Makusidi, Comrade Juliana Beatrice, Dr. Jonathan Osuji, Dr. Janet Angbazo respectively, Chairman, National Adolescent Health Technical Working Group, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, Head, Gashe Division, Dr. Chris Ugboko.

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