Heavy disease burden contributes to women mortality in Nigeria – Expert

A cross-section of the 82 Chibok schoolgirls recently freed from the Boko Haram terrorists who were handed to the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Sen. Aisha Al-Hassan by the Department of State Security Service (DSS), in Abuja on Tuesday (30/5/17). The Ministry is to immediately commence a comprehensive process of the girls’ rehabilitation. 02910/30/5/2017/Anthony Alabi/BJO/NAN

A heavy disease burden especially at the primary health care level is pushing up the mortality rate of women and children in the country, an expert has alerted.

Ben Anyene, a medical doctor and chairman of the Health Sector Reform Coalition, said the phenomenon may have a destabilising impact on the country unless urgently checked.

He gave the warning on Friday in Abuja at the inauguration of the working group for Nigeria’s Global Financing Facility, GFF, made up of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs.

GFF is a global fund targeted at Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH).

Members of the GFF/CSO working group were selected from different civil society organizations working in the health sector, including the media.

The group is to support advocacy for the implementation of GFF in the country, among other roles.

According to Mr. Anyene, the burden of disease in Nigeria is very high and worrisome.

“It is worth noting that the burden of disease in Nigeria is very high and 70 per cent of these are at the Primary Health Care (PHC) level, a great challenge for every women and child in Nigeria.

“According to 2015 WHO report, neonatal death rate is 33.3/1000 live births and maternal mortality ratio is 814/ 100,000 live births.

“This shows that the maternal mortality ratio in the country has gone up”, he said.

He stressed the need for urgent actions to halt the rise in the deaths of women and children in the country.

“More worrisome is the fact that if there is no rapid intervention in these deaths, the statistics might drastically increase, causing a destabilizing impact in the wider society and national well-being,” he said.

Mr. Ayene noted that in a bid to galvanise efforts to reverse the rising rate of mortality of women and children, the World Bank and its partners had provided a financing model that integrates resources from countries, international donors and the private sector to accelerate advancement in the health of every woman and child.

The GFF, according to him, was launched to provide assistance to countries with high disease burden in low and lower income countries including Nigeria

The GFF also aims to elevate community voices, policy advocacy, resource mobilization, monitoring and independent accountability and results.

Mr. Anyene charged the members of the GFF CSOs to work collectively.

“It is expected that your membership will further equip your institutions and organizations with relevant expertise and skills relevant for resource mobilization and programme ownership.

“The Nigeria GFF CSOs working group is a strong group that will support the advocacy for the implementation of the GFF investment case, national health care financing, equity and strategy policy,” he noted


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