Thursday, 4 October 2007

Nigeria hosts Global Mission for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

Abuja, Nigeria— Efforts to reduce maternal mortality and improve child health in Nigeria are on the front burner as Nigeria joins the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. The Mission met with top government functionaries including Nigeria’s Honorable Minister of Health in Abuja.

Apart from government officials, the Global Partnership met with UNAIDS, the World Bank, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Nigeria, the Nigerian Medical Association, the Governor of Niger State, and the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, among other professional health bodies. The purpose of the Partnership’s visit was to advocate a national strategy to eliminate maternal, newborn and child health across Nigeria, and to create a strong alliance among government agencies, NGOs, professional bodies, and media organizations to support the strategy.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health is a new global health partnership launched in September 2005 to accelerate action towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5. The Partnership joins the maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) communities into an alliance of currently more than 125 members representing governments, donors, United Nation agencies, non-governmental organizations, private institutions, and academic and research institutions—all committed to ensuring that women, infants and children not only remain healthy, but thrive.

Since the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health National Conference held in March 2007, Nigeria has undertaken a number of steps towards rolling out the Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) Strategy. These include stepping up advocacy for strong and wide support; re-organizing the country’ Ministry to meet the challenges of roll-out; finalising the IMNCH Strategic document for printing and dissemination; mobilising resources for kick starting roll-out, and other support.

But much more needs to be done. Nigeria still suffers from one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world; in fact, six women die every hour in Nigeria from birth-related complications. This is why members of the Global Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health met with Nigeria’s top government figureheads, including the Honorable Minister of Health and the Governor of Niger state, to discuss the growing need for a more effective implementation of a national maternal and child health care policy in Nigeria.

Following the Partnership’s advocacy tour, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health held a week-long orientation and planning workshop for selected stakeholders and partners on their roles in rolling out the IMNCH strategy. Development Communications Network will coordinate the media efforts behind Nigeria’s initial implementation of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health strategy.

*Reported by Amanda Hale

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