By Chioma Obinna
Over the last two decades, the coverage of key Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health, RMNCAH, interventions has stagnated at low levels, despite significant investments in the health system in Nigeria.
The lack of progress on services such as family planning, antenatal care, and skilled birth attendance as well as limited coverage of important interventions is further aggravated by poor quality of care.
Whilst the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child initiative puts into action a roadmap aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, for ending all preventable deaths and improving the health and well-being of women, children, and adolescents by 2030, there is limited coordination and alignment of programmes/fragmentation of local action in Nigeria.
At the inaugural Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, PHN, Nigerian Integrated Coalition for Improving RMNCAH (NICIR) workshop, the overall goal was to build consensus around system gaps and identify opportunities for synergies/collaboration between public and private sector players.
Amongst others, the Coalition seeks to co-design sustainable solutions with local ownership to improve outcomes and strengthen private sector engagement for health within the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
In the views of Chief Executive Officer, PHN, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, CEO, Nigeria required sustainable financing framework to achieve projected targets.
Muntaqa pointed out that there are unrealised synergies in mobilising domestic resources and private sector capabilities to contribute towards the achievement of the Nigeria’s health priorities.
“It is on this premise that there is the need to understand public and private sector initiatives towards achievement of the SDGs with the aim of developing a multi-sectoral package of interventions to catalyze transformative solutions towards reducing maternal mortality; and systemically advance improvements across the healthcare system building blocks. The need for collaboration with cross-sectoral partners is critical to ensure no woman dies giving life,” Muntaqa explained.
The Executive Director, Merck for Mothers, Dr Mary-Ann Etiebet, explained that while Nigeria has a thriving private sector with a growing economy, local businesses are interested and willing to be part of improving health outcomes but efforts are fragmented.
“The time is right to build momentum to strategically accelerate private sector participation for impact in Nigeria. Through this consultative process, the goal of developing a multi-sectoral package of interventions using the SDG framework that can be integrated into current stakeholders’ work and aligns with the national agenda has begun. Added to this is identifying key multi-sectoral stakeholders and their roles as champions to advance progress,” Etiebet noted.
Participants representing key sectors/stakeholder groups held a stakeholder panel discussion that created an avenue for shared learning and presentation of diverse, but unique perspectives for improved service delivery and outcomes in Nigeria.
Worthy of note is the inclusive problem-solving and idea formulation strengthens collaboration, which reflects the partnerships approach of the Nigeria Global Financing Facility (GFF) country platform formed to bring together national leadership, private sector, civil society and stakeholders in RMNCAH to help close the gap for RMNCAH+N