By Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The federal government has concluded plans to unveil the Nigeria Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) multi-stakeholder partnership coordination platform on Monday.

Speaking on Friday, while briefing journalists in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire said the unveiling was part of government’s commitment to realising global commitments on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 3 and 5) and attainment of Universal Health Coverage, leaving No One Behind.

“The vision for this multi-stakeholder coordination platform is to harness the relative strengths of the diverse stakeholders and create opportunities to leverage resources to maximize outcomes for attainment of our shared vision for Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable population.

“The motto, partnering for wellbeing of women, children, adolescents, and the elderly, encapsulates the core values that drive Universal Health Coverage, with the aim of leaving no one behind.

“Our responsibility for the well-being of Women Children, Adolescent and Elderly takes cognizance of their roles in national development since, they constitute a significant proportion of the Nigerian populace.

“However, the shared vision must be driven by stakeholders carefully drawn with criteria, among which are passion and track record of work related to the wellbeing of women, children, adolescent and/or the elderly. The membership includes, governments, parliamentarians, media, regulatory bodies, philanthropists & donors, development organizations, academia & professional bodies, traditional and religious institutions, women groups and civil societies.”

Further, the Minister expressed worry over issues that confront the health of the Family in Nigeria, saying they are multipronged and require an integrated, multi-sectoral approach.

“No one institution can handle the task.

“From experience, we recognize that partnership for cooperation and collaboration is key, and that coordination of efforts can be a challenge; but the past partnerships for IMNCH at lower levels has now evolved to this high-level platform we are launching today we have learned from the past are now well equipped & emboldened to forge ahead.

“Since the launch of the Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) strategy in 2007, the National MNCH Partnership (PMNCH) has been coordinated by the Core Technical Committee (CTC), leading to establishment of the technical working groups for each programmatic area in the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH +N) spectrum.

“All the technical working groups have been established and are functioning smoothly. However, gaps exist in achieving overall coordination of RMNCAEH+N in Nigeria.”

He said the emergence of new issues around gender, public health emergencies and, most recently, covid-19 pandemic, with attendant limitations in providing access to equitable quality RMNCAEH+N services, has become an area of concerns for global health and security.

“There is no doubt that the Covid19 pandemic had its toll on routine health care delivery around the world and at the initial phase, severely impacted RMNCAH+N services in Nigeria. However, lessons learnt from the Covid19 pandemic are being utilized to strengthen our health system and reposition it for more resilience, to improve health and wellbeing of the vulnerable across population life cycle of children, adolescents, women and the elderly.

“Investment in the health and wellbeing of Women, children, adolescent and the elderly is a worthwhile and will support overall socio- economic development of our dear country, since the health indices of a country relate with the health of women & children. Our health indices are unacceptably poor, with a 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 livebirths.”

He said the country has made modest progress towards improvement of child survival and safe-motherhood, through provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food and sustaining FP2020 commitments to ensure availability of family planning services to women of reproductive age amongst other things.”

“Basic Health Care Provision Fund will greatly improve access to quality health care for the vulnerable, particularly at the PHC level.”

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