TO address high maternal and infant mortality rates in Nigeria, the Rotary-led initiative ‘Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria’ aims to improve access to life-saving quality healthcare and tailored family planning services.
Nigeria accounts for 23 percent of maternal deaths and 12 percent of neonatal deaths worldwide, as women and infants continue to face risks during pregnancy, birth, and the first years of life. Inadequate health services, together with the COVID-19 pandemic, have compounded the situation in the country.
Initiated by Nigerian and German Rotary members and the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health, RMCH, in partnership with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, ‘Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria’ was awarded $2 million by the Rotary Foundation and aims to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in targeted local government areas by 25 percent. More than 1.5 million people will be reached through essential health services and awareness-raising campaigns to encourage families to seek clinical care. The initiative will also increase data-tracking capabilities with regard to maternal and neonatal deaths so that interventions can be tailored to specific needs.
“Providing mothers and newborns with targeted healthcare, while also improving the systemic access to life-saving services will have an immediate and long-term impact on not just mothers but also the wider community,” said Professor Emmanuel Adedolapo Lufadeju, National Coordinator and member of the Rotary Club of Ibadan-Jericho Metro, who spearheaded the program more than two decades ago. “Applying our experiences and the lessons learned from our previous efforts in other target states will help facilitate smooth scaling up, replication and sustainability. We have made maternal death in Nigeria a notifiable condition. It is imperative for our future that we address this now,” he added.
‘Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria’ takes Rotary members’ commitment to improving maternal and infant health to the next level by building a longer-term, multi-stakeholder partnership on the ground in Nigeria with the Nigerian federal and state ministries of health, the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, the Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine, The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Paediatric Association of Nigeria.
“Each pregnancy magnifies the mother’s health risks, especially when she doesn’t have access to proper care,” said Jan-Peter Sander, program lead in Germany and member of the Rotary Club of Deidesheim-Mittelhaardt, Germany. “This initiative is absolutely key in ensuring that every mother and child is given the best possible chance in what is the most vulnerable period of their lives.”
‘Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria’ is the second awardee for Rotary’s Programs of Scale grant. In an annual competitive grant process, The Rotary Foundation, Rotary’s philanthropic arm that helps clubs work together to perform meaningful and impactful service, will award $2 million to an evidence-based program that aligns with one of Rotary’s causes and has the capability for scaling-up to help more people. The programs are sponsored by Rotary members in collaboration with local communities and partner organizations.
Rotary members throughout the world develop and implement sustainable, community-driven projects that fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water, support education, help mothers and children, grow local economies and protect the environment. Over US$5.5 billion has been awarded through The Rotary Foundation.