As part of effort to reduce maternal mortality in the country, the federal government has launched the Nigeria Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) platform.
The platform seeks to improve the well-being of women, children, adolescents and elderly in Nigeria, according to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.
Mr Ehanire, while speaking at the launch on Monday, said the challenges of the country’s health system are multidimensional and require an integrated, multi-sectoral approach.
He noted that investment in the health of women and children will support the overall socio-economic development of the country.
Mr Ehanire lamented that the country’s health indices are poor and totally unacceptable.
“Our health indices are unacceptably poor and there are emerging issues around gender, public health emergencies and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
”Maternal mortality ratio of 512 per 1000 live births, Under-five mortality rate of 132 per 1000 live births and neonatal mortality rate of 39 per 1000 live births,” he said.
A 2019 report by the United Nation’s Children Funds (UNICEF) shows that Nigeria is the world’s number one contributor to deaths of children under the age of five.
It said Nigeria recorded an estimated average of 858,000 under-five deaths in 2019.
The data, which covered a period of three decades –1990 to 2019 – showed that 49 per cent of all under-five deaths in 2019 occurred in just five countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.
“Nigeria and India alone account for almost a third,” it said.
In his remarks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country representative, Walter Mulombo, said the development shows the commitment and hope that Nigeria will be among the countries who will be able to reduce women and child mortality by 2030.
He noted that Nigeria is very instrumental to developing WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work.
Mr Mulombo appreciated the level of commitment from the governors of the states.
He assured the government of “WHO’s continual support to the government, the state governors, to make sure that all together we meet the target and overcome based on the partnership”.
In his remarks, the Coordinator of Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Aminu Magashi, said he was committed to engage and provide technical support to the improvement of the platform.
“We happily welcome the emergence of the Nigeria RMNCAEH+N Partnership Coordination Platform. And commit to engage and continue to provide technical support to the platform in domestic resource mobilization, efficient budgetary release, budget performance, and accountability aimed at galvanizing collective actions and positive health outcomes for RMNCAEH+N in Nigeria,” he said.