Nigeria, U.S governments launch new healthcare initiative

Gloria Essien, Abuja

The Nigerian government, the US and General Electric have launched a new mother and child Health Initiative that would expand access to prenatal screening for more than two million pregnant women in Nigeria by the year 2020.

The Healthymagination Mother and child Initiative launched in Abuja, is expected to reduce preventable mother and infant deaths.
The minister of state for health Dr. Osagie Ehanire who presided over the launch, said that Nigeria would embrace any initiative aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality.

He said that the rehabilitation of the country’s more than 10,000 primary health care systems is a key priority for the Federal Ministry of Health and that the new initiative with General Electric and USAID “is a major step forward in accelerating the development of maternal and infant care in Nigeria though the promotion of safe pregnancy, labour and post-natal care”.

The US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle said that the US government through the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, was committed to supporting Nigeria’s critical development needs.

“In Nigeria, USAID’s focus is to promote and support stronger governance, financial and human development and to serve as partners in the creation and implementation of economic and civil strategies for the benefit of all Nigerians. This effort will further bolster the Government’s focus on expanding essential services in primary care.” Mr. Entwisle said.

The US ambassador commended General Electric for putting the device together for the well-being of pregnant women in Nigeria.

He expressed delight at the innovative device and the fact that the public and private sector was coming together to partner in the interest of primary healthcare delivery in Nigeria

On his part, the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Ado Muhammad, said that the Agency was glad to be the implementer of the programme.

He said that more than 650 units of Vscan Access ultrasound diagnostic device will be deployed across primary healthcare clinics in the country.

“I want to assure USAID that the funds committed to this project would be properly utilising”.

The Health Population and Nutrition Officer for USAID, Dr. Nancy Lowenthal, says the agency is committed to the health of African expectant women.

She said that USAID would continue to strengthen existing projects and develop new ones to promote healthy living.

Nigerian nurses and midwives are expected to work with the device.

The Nurses and Midwifery Council of Nigeria speaking at the launch, said that it was excited to be part of the project.

A member of the council, Mrs. Margaret Eze called for more nurses to be trained for the success of the initiative.

Tolu Disu and Ahmed Zakari of General Electric, said the device would reduce preventable maternal and infant deaths in Nigeria.

The Healthymagination Mother and child Initiative is a portable ultrasound Vscan designed by General Electric, for front-line workers with low-resource  to help improve maternal health.

It is described as portable, affordable and the right tool that could be carried easily from place to place.