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Nigeria: Declare Maternal, Newborn and Under-Five Deaths National Emergencies, Govt Told

Champions for Change, a project of PHI’s Rise Up, is highlighted in this AllAfrica article on the inaugural Summit on Accountability for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH). Participants in the summit called on the federal government in Nigeria to declare maternal, neonatal and under-5 deaths a national emergency.

Towards contributing to the economic growth, social and gender equity and democratic governance in the country, the Federal government has been urged to declare maternal, neonatal and under-5 deaths a national priority emergency and to urgently design an action plan to address the maladies.

Making the call, representatives of public and private sector stakeholders in health and development who gathered in Abuja for an inaugural Summit on accountability for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, RMNCAH, said that unless there is political will and priority among the local, state, and Federal governments, implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, will remain unachievable.

The Summit titled: “Accountability Now: Advancing RMNCAH, was organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, and co-sponsored by Champions for Change based at the Public Health Institute; the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria, HERFON, and Women Friendly Initiative.

Communique: In a jointly signed communiqué, participants noted that the national maternal mortality ratio of 576 deaths per 100,000 live births constitutes a national emergency.

Reproductive health needs

They lamented that one out of every five Nigerian children dying before their fifth birthday is unacceptable and called on government at all levels to prioritise the reproductive health needs of women, children and the youths of Nigeria in her health agenda for 2016-2019. The Summit participants recommended, as deliberate government policy, domestication of the National Health Act nationwide, while allocating more fund to health, education and other social services.

“We leave with a renewed sense of commitment and joint accountability to achieve our goals of ensuring access to the full range of health services and supplies for sexual, reproductive maternal and adolescent youth health in Nigeria.

“We further commit to collaborate with the government and each other to share lessons on what works and what doesn’t to share our shared goals.”

Presenting the keynote address while launching the global mobile “Da Subject Matter”, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was represented by the Director, Department of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Balami Wapada, admitted that the present maternal mortality indices provided by the 2013 National Demographic Health Survey, NDHS, was a far cry from the global target of 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.

“We need to reduce this ratio by a minimum of 88 per cent in the next 15 years. Newborn mortality rate needs to be reduced by at least 68 percent and under-5 mortality rate needs to be reduced by at least 80 percent.

“Although we were able to quickly contain the Ebola outbreak, our health system still needs more strengthening and we shall continue to strengthen the system. Adewole said government would integrate health services delivery/monitoring and evaluate health services for availability, accessibility and quality in every setting.

Read the full article in AllAfrica.

Originally published by AllAfrica

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