By Chioma Obinna
As Nigeria celebrates its National Children’s Day, today, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has commended the National Assembly for passing the National Health Bill into law. It also called on Preisdent Goodluck Jonathan to quickly assent to the Bill for immediate implementation across the country.
According to the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Suomi Sakai, “the National Health Bill is the best gift to Nigerian children as they celebrate their day.”
“The health status of children and women in Nigeria remains poor but we believe that with careful implementation of the National Health Act, along with sufficient funding for and close monitoring of the National Strategic Health Strategic Development Plan, Nigeria will take firm steps to reverse this trend.
“We expect the National Health Act to translate into the release of much needed funding from national revenues for the health of children and women. Its focus on an essential minimum package of care to tackle the health problems which cause the highest number of death and illness in children and women is highly commendable,” he said.
Sakai pointed out that scaling up the implementation of an essential package of proven, cost-effective and high-impact interventions in all primary health centres will bring Nigeria closer to attaining the health related MDGs.
She said in doing so, “we encourage the government and its partners to leave no child behind, as this momentum is really about securing quality primary health care with equity for every woman and every child.”