October 15, 2012

FG will save 1m lives by 2015 – Pate

Abuja –  The Minister of State for Health, Dr Muhammad Pate says government is committed to saving one million lives by 2015 through  increased access to cost-effective  health services and commodities.

Pate said this in Abuja on Sunday at the UN Commission’s meeting on live-saving commodities for women and children.

“In Nigeria, we believe that saving lives is the ultimate goal for our collective efforts in the health sector and this should be the yardstick for measuring our success in this endeavour.

“This is why we have initiated a national programme aimed at `saving one million lives’ by 2015 through equitable increasing access to and utilisation of quality cost-effective basic health services and commodities.’’ He said

He said the government was committed to enhancing access to life-saving commodities for women and children as well as improving the health outcome.

The minister said the meeting would discuss issues and challenges in providing access to under-utilised commodities, develop milestones and targets for effective monitoring of implementation.

He said the objective was to share information on the UN commission’s recommendations and implementation plan and to review the draft implementation plan and to reflect country priorities and needs.

The meeting would also launch the Nigeria’s saving one million lives programme.

The UN Commission approved 10 recommendations to support improved and equitable access to selected life-saving commodities.

It was launched globally as part of the “Every Woman, Every Child (EWEC)” movement on Sept. 26.

The recommendations are: shaping global markets, shaping local delivery markets, innovative financing, quality strengthening and regulation efficiency.

Others included: supply and awareness, demand and utilisation, reaching women and children, performance and accountability and product innovation.

Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director, UNFPA, said the meeting would ensure that live saving commodities would be available for those that needed it.

Osotimehin, who also chaired the meeting, said such declaration became necessary due to the high rate of maternal mortality, adding that 2012 would see more action.

He noted that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were mainly about women and children’s health, adding that the recommendation would enable the country to achieve the goals.

“We cannot talk about gender equality when women are dying from preventable health issues, I am glad that the world is talking about family planning and are moving into action,’’ he said.

Osotimehin said the supply chain management system in the country was weak, saying that the UN system would assist in that area.

He called on the media to monitor money budgeted for health programmes as well as hold the government accountable to ensure  that resources were used as excepted.

Mr Daouda Toure, the UN Resident Coordinator, said the EWEC launched in 2011 was to improve access to essential but unavailable or under-utilsed health supplies that could save the lives of millions of women and children.

Toure said the UN system in Nigeria would work to bring the initiative to the people who were to benefit from the recommendation.

“The UN system is ready to cooperate with the government to contribute to saving six million lives by 2015 through its home grown “saving one million lives programme” to be launched as part of this conference.

He said the meeting would assist to further articulate the country specific implementation plans and actions as a follow up to the commissioner’s report and global implementation pan.

Toure said the countries present at the meeting were Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. (NAN)