European Union, UNICEF and WHO partner with Nigeria to improve health of mothers and children and strengthen health systems
THE Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has today launched the implementation of a European Union funded project to support maternal, new-born and child health, strengthen Nigeria’s health systems and to eradicate the polio virus in the country. The Project is the phase 1 – seventy million euro (twenty-three billion Naira) support from the European Union to the Health Sector under the 11th European Development Fund and will be jointly implemented by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the target States.
Fifty million euros of the grant disbursed through UNICEF aims to ensure that by 2020, 80 percent of the wards in Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi states will have a functional primary health care centre, providing round-the-clock services to three million children under the age of five as well as almost a million pregnant women and lactating mothers. Twenty million euros, disbursed through WHO will support the strengthening of health care systems towards achieving universal health coverage in Anambra and Sokoto States. The project will also support efforts to eradicate polio permanently from Nigeria.
“The European Union is working together with the Nigerian authorities to address developmental challenges in key priority areas under its 11th European Development Fund. This project will help to improve access to effective health and nutrition in the prioritised states and support the final push to eradicate polio in Nigeria,” Michel Arrion, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and to ECOWAS, said at the event. “The focus is especially on providing services to poor, marginalized, rural women and children, saving the lives of mothers and children and improving their health and nutrition through a sustainable primary health care delivery system.”
Thanking the EU for the grant, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Country Representative, said, “Our partnership with the EU will enable the organisation to continue providing the necessary technical support to the Government of Nigeria towards strengthening the health systems and enhancing timely interventions during supplemental immunisation activities, including reaching children in areas with insecurity in the northeast.”
Nigeria did not meet the Health and Nutrition-related Millennium Development Goals at the end of 2015. Ten per cent of the global burden of maternal deaths is recorded in Nigeria. On average 33% of children in Nigeria are stunted as a result of malnutrition with much higher figures, above 50%, in northern Nigerian states. The detection of four wild poliovirus cases last year, after two years without a recorded case, has returned Nigeria to the list of polio endemic countries.
However, systemic reforms and additional financing of the health system by the Government have led to some improvements, highlighted by the successful containment of the spread of the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
“Through this important project, we will build on what has already been achieved and continue to strengthen the health systems in these states,” said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, adding, “This will help Nigeria on the road to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals agreed at the United Nations in 2015 by all the world’s nations, including Nigeria.”
— Feb 16, 2017 @ 17:40 GMT