From Yusuf Mairiga Shekarau, Jos
Having successfully championed the eradication of polio, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has turned more vigorous attention towards ending maternal and child mortality in Nigeria.
The Agency, through its National Emergency Maternal and Child Health Intervention Centre (NEMCHIC) is mobilizing more stakeholders, development partner, civil society organizations, private sector and ward development committees across the country and building health workers capacity on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health plus nutrition (RMNCAH+N).
At a capacity building workshop for Zonal Technical Officers of state emergency maternal and child health intervention centres held in Abuja, the NEMCHIC Program Manager, Dr. Laila Umar disclosed that the declaration of a state of emergency on maternal and child health in April 2019 was followed by developing of high impact interventions strategies for reducing preventable maternal and child deaths by 50 per cent in 2021.
Stakeholders and partners, she added, were needed to enhance program implementation across all states of the federation. Top among development partners supporting the agency in this effort is the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
Others include Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), USIAD Integrated Health Program (IHP) and Breakthrough Action, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Bank, African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), e-Health for Africa, e-Health for Everyone.
Until the declaration of a state of emergency, it is noteworthy that Nigeria, which makes up only two percent of the world’s population, accounts for 14 percent, 8 percent, and 10 percent of global maternal, neonatal and under-five mortalities respectively. Experts believe that as much as 70 percent of the causes of maternal and child mortality in Nigeria can be prevented if appropriate measures are taken.