World Bank gives Nigeria N99.5b to improve maternal health

The World Bank said it has released N99.5 billion ($500 million) for ​the ​Nigerian government to improve on maternal and child health and nutrition.

In a statement, the World Bank said the fund was approved by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors through the International Development Association. The fund is expected to “significantly” improve maternal, child, and nutrition health services for women and children in Nigeria.

Through this funding, an improvement in the access of higher quality health service in order to achieve Nigeria’s “Saving One Million Lives, SOML, Initiative,” a project is paramount.

The SOML initiative was launched by Nigeria’s Ministry of Health in October 2012 to save the lives of the more than 900,000 women and children who die every year in Nigeria from largely preventable causes.

Nigeria accounts for 14 per cent of all annual maternal deaths worldwide, second only to India at 17 per cent. Similarly, Nigeria accounts for 13 per cent of all global deaths of children under the age of five years, again second only to India at 21 per cent.

The World Bank’s funding support for the initiative will utilize the Program-for-Results, PforR, instrument to encourage a greater focus on results, increase accountability, improve measurements, strengthen management, and foster innovation.

This program will help strengthen Nigeria’s health system and development says, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, Nigeria’s Country Director.

Ms. Marie-Nelly said the program will also provide an important tool for bringing both government and development partners together around a commitment to achieve specific, tangible results.

These funds, World Bank said will only be disbursed to the Federal and State governments for independently verified improvements in key services such as vaccination coverage among young children, rates of contraceptive use, Vitamin A supplementation and skilled birth attendance.

Others include: HIV counselling and testing among women attending antenatal care, and preventing new malaria infections among children by using insecticide- treated bed nets when they sleep.

Also, Federal and State governments receive incentive payments for better tackling governance and management issues in the health sector and for improving the quality of basic health services.

SOML will be implemented under the Federal Ministry of Health, in close cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Finance which will provide the financial oversight role while new health operation is expected to start implementation on August 1, 2015.

The operation will end after four years, in December 2019.


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