By Stanley Onyekwere
As part of efforts to deliver key health interventions, the FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has launched the FCT 2019 second round Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) and the enrolment of Area Councils employees in the FCT Health Insurance Scheme.
Speaking during the official flag off, the minister noted that the MNCH has been set aside specially to deliver a package of key maternal, newborn and child survival interventions that have been proven to reduce maternal, neonatal and child mortalities in the Territory.
Aliyu revealed that FCT has recorded over 400 percent performance improvement in eight years as in the last first round 2019 MNCHW, noting that a coverage of 98 percent was achieved against 24 percent in 2011.
She further revealed that reports of studies, particularly the recent report of 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey, have shown FCT coverages of fully immunized children at 49 percent which is above the national average of 31 percent.
According to the Minister, considerable achievements have been made through MNCHW to improve the current maternal, newborn and child health indices.
She however stressed that the authorities still need to do more to ensure that all eligible children, newborn and mothers are covered with interventions that will improve their nutritional status and general health.
“Since my inauguration and deployment to the FCT, I have engaged with stakeholders in health and social services subsectors at all levels and it is important to mention that we have developed a blueprint for positively touching the lives of all the residents of FCT by way of a 5-year, 2019 to 2023, Strategic Plan.
“The launching of the enrolment of all Area Councils employees in the FCT health insurance scheme today is one of such initiatives to increase access to good quality health services towards achieving universal health coverage for the FCT,” she affirmed.
Aliyu therefore assured that efforts are ongoing to ensure pregnant women and under five years old children in the FCT are covered by the Health Insurance Scheme to further expand access to good quality and timely health services to these vulnerable groups.
The minister stated that emphasis has shifted from stand-alone vertical routine and supplemental health services provision to a more integrated approach like the MNCMNCH week, which exposes caregivers, and children to key interventions that improve health status and enable them thrive through both the fixed and outreach strategies.
She added that the promotion of these health services is the priority of the FCT Administration.
In his address, chairman of Kuje Area Council, Abdullahi Sabo, noted that maternal new born and healthcare is a biannual event aimed at reducing maternal death, child mortality and morbidity, stressing that the intervention is to provide maternal healthcare and nutrition which are key to child survival and maternal well-being.
Sabo therefore called on the beneficiaries who are children from age 0-59 months and women of child bearing age to avail themselves of this opportunity by coming out en-mass to be part of the programme so that at the end it shall be better for all residents of the Territory.
The Kuje Council boss also used the occasion to commend the FCT Health Insurance Scheme for Area Councils personnel, describing it as a good development for the staff and their families.
On his part, Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Abdullahi Candido, who spoke on behalf of other Area Council chairmen pledged the commitment of the Area Council Administrations to support the programme.