Nigeria partners with EU, development agencies on health care

Gloria Essien Ismail Umar

Minister of Health Prof Isaac Adewole-middle-flanked-by-Governors-of-Bauchi-﹠-Sokoto-while-EU-Ambassador-2nd-right-and-WR-1st-left-look

The Federal Government of Nigeria with the European Union, UNICEF and WHO have signed a a 70 million Euro European Union grant to scale up maternal and child health outcome in Bauchi, Adamawa and Kebbi States and also to Strengthen Health System in Anambara and Sokoto states.

At the Signing ceremony in Abuja, the minister of Health, Prof.Isaac Adewole,  appreciated EU  for keying into the present administration’s resolve to improve the Nigerian Health system.

Adewole explained that “50 million Euros would be used to scale up Maternal New-born and Child Health in Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi while 20 Million Euros would be used to strengthen health system in Sokoto and Anambra and also to fight against polio in the country.”

The Minister said that the Federal Government recognized the fact that paying attention to Primary Healthcare system where millions of Nigerians access healthcare is the key strategy towards improving the health of Nigerians.

Adewole said “ Mr. President recently flagged off the Revitalization process of PHCs and called on all International Partners as well as individuals to support the effort and today EU has responded and we want to thank you for making it happen. At the end of this exercise EU would have strengthened 774 PHCs in the 3 States. Thus our target of revitalizing 10, 000 PHCs is on course and we are quite confident that we shall get there”.

In his response on behalf of the benefiting States, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State,  Alh Muhammed Abubakar specifically appreciated the Hon Minister of Health for doing thing differently by allowing States take lead in the implementation process of the programme.

According to him, ‘’this laudable gesture would improve capacity at the state level and give a sense of ownership to both the administrators of the programme and the end users’’.

Earlier in his remarks the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that the fund would focus on pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under 5 years of age.

“The direct beneficiaries include 2.7 million children under-5 years and 850,000 pregnant women in Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi States” he said.

Speaking during the event the EU Ambassador, Michel Arrion, said that European Union was working with Nigeria authorities to address developmental challenges in key priority areas under its 11th European Development Fund.

He said “this project would help to improve access to effective health and nutrition in the prioritized states and support the final push to eradicate polio in Nigeria”.

“The focus is especially on providing service to poor, marginalized rural women and children, saving the lives of mothers and children and improving their health and nutrition through a sustainable primary health care delivery system,” the EU Ambassador concluded.

Michel Arrion, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and to ECOWAS, said at the event, “the European Union is working together with the Nigerian authorities to address developmental challenges in key priority areas under its 11th European Development Fund. This project will help to improve access to eective health and nutrition in the prioritized states and support the final push to eradicate polio in Nigeria”.

According to the Ambassador, “the focus is especially on providing services to poor, marginalized, rural women and children, saving the lives of mothers and children and improving their health and nutrition through a sustainable primary health care delivery system.”

The Project.

The Project is the phase 1 – seventy million euro (twenty-three billion Naira) support from the European Union to the Health Sector under the 11th European Development Fund and will be jointly implemented by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the target states.

Fifty (50) million euro of the grant disbursed through UNICEF aims to ensure that by 2020, 80 per cent of the wards in Adamawa, Bauchi and Kebbi states will have  functional primary health care centers, providing round-the-clock services to three million children under the age of five years as well as to almost a million pregnant women and lactating mothers. Twenty (20) million euro, disbursed through WHO will support the strengthening of health care systems towards achieving universal health coverage in Anambra and Sokoto states, and support efforts to eradicate polio from Nigeria.

The grant disbursed through WHO is to support health systems strengthening efforts in Nigeria towards achieving universal health coverage and improved health outcomes through improved data analysis and information dissemination capabilities, health expenditure estimation, reduction in financial barriers to health care and to increase and sustain herd immunity against polio in polio priority states.