WEFA: USAID, Nigeria announce US$20m assistance to prevent child, maternal mortality

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), taking advantage of the ongoing World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) here, Wednesday announced a US$20 million scheme to provide affordable financing options and increase capacity in Nigeria’s primary healthcare system.

USAID, which is partnering with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and the Primary Health Care Development Agency of Nigeria in the implementation of the scheme, said it is aimed at supporting the reduction of preventable child mortality in Nigeria.

The programme, entitled 'Healthy magination, Mother & Child Initiative’, will have each of the partners contributing towards the US$20 million in the first phase which will in the next five years to reduce preventable maternal and infant mortality rates in Nigeria.

Nigeria's Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told journalists at a media briefing on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa that skills were essential to healthcare on the African continent.

Stating that “we need skills to rapidly grow the health sector", Prof. Chukwu noted that the programme includes several variable components including the provision of financing and technology and the development and deployment of comprehensive training and education for midwives and a consumer health education and aware senses programme.

According to the Minister, "these components are all part of the US$20 million investment. While Nigeria still comprises a large share of the world's burden of child and maternal morbidity and mortality, infant mortality in Nigeria has seen a 38% reduction to 78 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012.

He said: "These positive trends are indicative of the Nigerian government's genuine commitment and sustained investment for maternal and new born health, where notable progress has been made over the past few years.

"We have hired over 60,000 new healthcare workers that are today providing better services to expectant mothers and it is estimated that 22,000 more expectant mothers are now receiving care during pregnancy. Clearly, there is still more to do, and with partnerships like this, we can achieve our goals through our Save One Million Lives programme."

Mission Director of USAID Nigeria, Michael Harvey, stressed that his organization's focus is to promote and support stronger governance, financial and human development and to serve as partners in the creation and implementation of economic and civil strategies for the benefit of all Nigerians.

"Indeed, programmes with the potentials to improve the health and wellbeing of the population are a critical focus of USAID's activities in Nigeria. USAID is proud to serve as a strategic partner to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and GE Healthcare in support of the imitative.

"The reality that we know today is unacceptable and hearth breaking - as nearly 300,000 mothers and three million new-borns continue to die every year from causes we know how to prevent. Through this initiative, USAID is partnering to scale up cutting-edge solutions and unlock a brighter future for the next generation of Nigerian leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs."

The scheme is expected to give healthcare providers in Nigeria first time access to GE portable ultrasound technology like Vscan.

A fact sheet, released to journalists, said the scheme is being developed to provide physicians in remote areas with imaging capacities at the point of care using Vscan, which is a pocket size medical tool that houses ultrasound technology and provides doctors with an immediate, non-invasive method to help visualize information about what is happening inside the body.
-0- PANA MON/VAO 7May2014

07 Maio 2014 15:28:28




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