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Federal Government moves to tackle high maternal, child mortality


• Emir urges handover of health centres to communities
• Group seeks funds for family planning project

The Federal Government has said that it will establish a national emergency centre for the co-ordination of services related to health to tackle high maternal and child mortality in the country.To this end, government, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), yesterday launched an aggressive nationwide campaign and awareness creation against high maternal and child mortality in Nigeria.

Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaibu, who spoke at the event in Abuja, decried Nigeria’s low ranking among nations that have made progress in reducing their maternal mortality ratios since 1990.

He said: “For every death of any woman related to childbirth, we will provide toll-free numbers for Nigerians to call; we will take steps to investigate such death and respond within the ambits of law in order to raise the sense of accountability for such preventable deaths.”

However, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, has implored the government to handover ownership of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) to local communities for greater efficiency in service delivery.

The Emir, who stated this at the public presentation of the strategic approach to rapidly reduce maternal and child mortality at the community, said such measure would ensure that the negative attitudes of some health workers, which discourage the people, especially rural women and children from seeking healthcare at the PHCs, would be addressed.

Meanwhile, Gombe State Working Group on Family Planning has appealed for the release of funds allocated for child spacing under the Save One Million Lives (SOL) project and State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA).

The group made the appeal in Gombe yesterday during an advocacy visit to the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kennedy Ishaya and the Acting Executive Secretary of the SPHCDA, Malam Haruna Ali Dadi-Kowa.Chairman of the group and Chief Executive Officer of SAIF Advocacy Foundation, Malam Alhassan Yahya, said releasing the funds would go a long way in increasing the state Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR), thereby reducing maternal mortality by 35 per cent.

He said the fund earmarked for child spacing under SOL would be used in purchasing consumables like pregnancy test kits, dettol, bleach, hand gloves, detergents, which would be used in the facilities providing the service.

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Faisal ShuaibuNPHCDA
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