Nigerian govt launches scheme to improve women’s access to healthcare, nutrition

The lack of accessible maternal health care for women like Elohor puts both their and their babies' lives in danger. Photo: ActionAid/Nigeria Leak

The Federal Government has launched a programme for informing pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers across the country about health and nutrition issues, using mobile phones.

The programme, tagged “mNutrition,” is a process of using mobile technology to send text messages to Nigerians with a view to expanding access to health and nutrition services.

According to a press statement on Friday by the Ministry, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, at the launch said the programme was a step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

He added that the programme was aimed at leveraging on mobile technology to scale up health and nutrition outcomes in Nigeria.

Mr. Adewole said malnutrition slows economic growth and perpetuates poverty by reducing children’s brain development, their ability to learn and be productive citizens during their adult years.

He stressed that malnourished children learn less in school and are more likely to drop out of school and eventually earn less as adults.

The minister appreciated all the stakeholders for their contributions towards achieving mobile nutrition programme in the country.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, said nutrition was a key factor in the reduction of high maternal and child mortality.

Mr. Ehanire said that reduction of child mortality and morbidity due to malnutrition could be achieved through coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to increase coverage and access to nutrition services such as special attention to women during pregnancy, promotion of health education as well as improve infant and young children feeding.

Earlier, the Head of Sub-Sahara Africa, GSMA, Akinwale Goodluck, a Nigerian living and working in Nairobi, Kenya, said that Nigeria was one of the eight selected countries for mNutrition.

The other countries are Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

He observed that it was apparent that mobile phone had the capacity to change the way and manner people behave, as a result, it was imperative to use mobile technology to create more awareness on nutrition in Nigeria.

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