Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire says Nigeria will accelerate its efforts to reduce maternal deaths.
Enahire spoke at the “Future of Health Conference 2019 Stakeholders” summit in Abuja, with the theme “Advancing Quality Maternal Healthcare in Nigeria: What Are Missing links”.
He said that Nigeria was believed to account for up to 14 per cent of global maternal deaths.
The minister said that efforts were being made to address the poor maternal and child healthcare indices in order to restore confidence in the health system in the country.
According to him, this is being done by taking steps to strengthen Primary Health Care service toward attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Ehanire said there was the need for an increased push for the PHC centres to remain opened for 24 hours in the country.
He said that making provision for transport like tricycle ambulances in the villages to transport pregnant women from their homes to the PHCs would reduce maternal deaths in the country.
The minister also urged increased collaborations with relevant stakeholders to ensure improvement in maternal and neonatal indices.
He advocated studies into the best practices to be directed to the Ministry for a better informed policy making in the country.
The minister noted that events like the stakeholders’ summit were important because they highlight the urgency to improve outcomes in maternal health.
According to him, they are also avenues for women’s voices to be heard as well as bring together all stakeholders.
He expressed concern that public funding of health services had been adversely affected by the many competing priorities faced by the government.
The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari ‘s administration believed in an inclusive governance.
He assured Nigerians that the government was committed to improving access to health by vulnerable Nigerians irrespective of where they lived.
“We are supporting schools of midwifery and school of health technology to boost the human resource for health and improve the scope of skills that community health workers have,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Mary-Ann Etiebiet, Lead Director of Maternal Safety Data (MDS), a Foundation for mothers, said “no woman has to die giving birth.
According to her, there is the need for all tiers of government to train healthcare workers in order to improve the service delivery to pregnant women in the country.
Etiebiet said that it was critical to the model of the government in improving quality of care for mothers and babies in the country.
She noted that the voices of women should not just be heard, but should also be integrated into solutions solving in maternal and child health care in the country.
“If we are not listening to the voices of the women and making their childbirth experiences something that is joyful, then we are not doing our jobs,” she said.
Ms. Ugonna Ofanagoro, Head of Projects at EpiAFRIC, a World Class Health Consultant Service, attributed the problem of maternal and child health care in the country to some obnoxious culture.
The conference is a platform which brings together Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), health professionals, development partners and policy makers.
It is aimed at profering solutions to the challenges being faced by the country’s health sector.