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First Lady launches initiative to improve maternal, newborn, child health

First Lady launches initiative to improve maternal, newborn, child health
Aisha Buhari

The wife of the President, Her Excellency, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Action-Nigeria Campaign, tagged ‘’Albishirin Ku’’ which unites Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Malaria and Nutrition Social behaviour change intervention under one identity in Abuja.

Her Excellency, who was represented by the wife of the Kebbi State Governor, Dr.  Zainab Bagudu disclosed that the Maternal and Child Health trajectory has experienced various strategies by numerous actors, which have contributed to a degree of improvement, bringing the country to its current status.

According to Her Excellency, ‘’as poor, as our indices currently are, it could have been worse if these efforts have not gone in. However, despite efforts made by our country, other countries and the World at large, it is sad to note that our country seems not to be making a Commensurate impact as we still standout negatively on the global stage for poor Maternal and child health Sector.

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Mr. Buhari stated that ‘’every day, we do hear stories of one woman or one child dying of one issue or the other in a health facility or at home, from causes that are preventable if one person or the other had taken the right decision and acted correctly. ‘’ All hands must be on deck towards solving the everyday health challenges claiming the lives of our women and children, she stressed.

She explained that there are some lapses on the part of service delivery, such as Poor Funding, Poor infrastructure and shortage of manpower. Also, some experts have outlined that some of the social norms, beliefs, and practices have substantially influenced the health system.

The first lady further informed that the ‘’ Aisha Buhari Foundation’’  has set up the ‘Future Assured Programme’ to focus attention and make a difference in the lives of the women and children by Advocating to address challenges in the area of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health plus nutrition (RMNCAH+N). She said that fully equipped maternity complex has been constructed at the Daura General Hospital, Kastina State and the Federal Medical Centre, Yola and has also engaged the wives of governors across the country by Organizing workshops and training on (RMNCAH+N advocacy.

She commended the USAID through the ‘Breakthrough Action’ Nigeria, other donors and the Development Partners in Promoting innovative social and behavioural change intervention in Nigeria.  She also applauded the Federal Ministry of Health for providing an oversight function and coordinating various health programmes in the country.

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The Hon. Minister of Health,  Dr. Osagie Ehanire,  reiterated the government’s commitment towards combating issues challenging the health of Nigeria Women, children and Adolescents.

The  Minister, represented by the Director,  Department of  Family Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, said the theme ‘Albishrin ku’ unifies the sets of social and behavior change interventions that focus on increasing the practice of the seventeen prioritized health behaviours relating to reproductive, malaria, maternal, Newborn and child health plus nutrition as well as provision of family planning services that would be implemented in partnership with State governments in three focal States namely: Bauchi, Kebbi and Sokoto.

He noted that the health indices in Nigeria as at 2013 was characterized with maternal mortality rate of 576 per 100,000 live births which is equivalent to 1 in 9 maternal deaths worldwide and about 40,000 maternal deaths annually, but said government is aware of the fact that there is still much work to be done in improving on the current health indices. However, he added that the government is focused on domesticating and scaling up of global evidence-based and cost-effective interventions.

The Minister highlighted the key approaches adopted to include; development and revision of relevant policies such as the National Health Policy, Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint (Scale-up Plan), Long-Action Reversible Contraceptives Strategy Plan of Action on Nutrition, Maternal and Newborn Health Quality of Care Strategy among others, are in line with the Global Strategy for Women and Children as well as Sustainable Development goals.

The Essential Newborn Care Course has been expanded to cover immediate care of the Newborn, including skin to skin contact, resuscitation of the chlorhexidine Gel for Cord care Management. Massive Roll-out of Vaccines namely BOG, Polio, Pneumococcal Conjugate and Measles to address Vaccine-preventable diseases among the under 5 and strengthen the Routine immunization system to be complemented by the National immunization days.

He commended Breakthrough Action- Nigeria, for the lunch of the project which is in line with the vision of President, Muhammadu Buhari’s, administration to produce a quick and visible impact that will affect lives as well as promote the health of every Nigerian especially the most vulnerable and poor in the society.

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Also speaking, the United States Agency for International Development Aid (USAID) Mission Director representative in Nigeria, Mrs. Minal Amin, said the Agency is working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, to meet up with President,  Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for a healthier Nation.

She said that through the Breakthrough Action Nigeria Project, the USAID deploys people-Centred approaches that create shifts in Socio-norms and encourage new ways for people and communities considering their health challenges and how best to tackle. He states that the Campaign is deployed in a way that entertains as well as educates on extremely important topics and galvanizes the support of critical stakeholders such as parents and families, traditional and religious leaders, health providers and policymakers to create an enabling environment.

She states that the Campaign has gained support at the highest level, which her Excellency, the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has been an advocate for improving Nigeria’s health, especially women, children, and other vulnerable populations.

In his remarks, the Permanent Sectary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, thanked the organizers for putting the Programme together for the betterment of mothers and children in Nigerian.

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