The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has flagged off Nigeria’s Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent, and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Coordination Platform in Abuja.
Speaking at a Press Briefing on Friday, 9th October 2020 at the Federal Ministry of Health Headquarters, Dr. Ehanire said the Platform is part of the Federal Government’s strategy towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals and attainment of Universal Health Coverage. He also announced that the platform would be launched on Monday 12th of October, 2020 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The Minister explained that the platform which has the motto: partnering for the wellbeing of women, children, adolescents, and the elderly, encapsulates the core values that drive Universal Health Coverage, with the aim of leaving no one behind.
Dr. Ehanire noted that the Issues that confront the health of the Family in Nigeria are multidimensional and thus, require an integrated, multi-sectoral approach as no one institution can handle the task. To this end, he informed that the multi-stakeholder coordination platform aims to harness the relative strengths of the diverse stakeholders and create opportunities to pull resources together in order to maximize outcomes for the attainment of the shared vision for Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable population.
Further, Minister lamented over the poor status of Nigeria’s health indices. According to him: “Our health indices are unacceptably poor, with a maternal mortality ratio of 512 per 1,000 live births, the under-five mortality rate of 132 per 1,000 live births and neonatal mortality rate of 39 per 1000 live births.”
He however admitted that the present administration has made remarkable progress towards the improvement of child survival and safe motherhood. This he said, was achieved through the provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food and sustaining FP2020 commitments to ensure availability of family planning services to women of reproductive age amongst other things.
Dr. Ehanire added that making the National Health Act and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund operational will greatly improve access to quality health care for the vulnerable, particularly at the primary healthcare level.
He expressed optimism that the birth of the RMNCAEH+N Platform would bring to actualization, President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision towards improving the health of the vulnerable populace.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi noted that the partnership aims at addressing the multi-pronged issues affecting the attainment of Universal Health Care Coverage in Nigeria.
Mr. Abdulaziz M. Abdullahi also pointed out that the Platform which commences with the commemoration of the high-level advocacy event would bring RMNCAEH+N issues to the front burner of political and societal agenda.
He highlighted the membership of the platform to include: Governments, parliamentarians, media, regulatory bodies, philanthropists and donors, development organizations, academia and professional bodies, pressure groups, traditional and religious institutions, private sector, women groups, civil society among others.
While commenting on some of the issues raised by Journalists who were present at the press briefing, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Development Agency (NPHIS), Dr. Faisal Shuaib pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected both the resources and physical space of every economy, making it difficult to attain the Universal Health Coverage and as such, he describes the RMNCAEH+N platform as seeking to provide an opportunity for Stakeholders to converge and brainstorm, to explore strategies that will guarantee enhance an efficient health care delivery for Nigerians.
“Part of Universal Health Care; RMNCAEH+N is very essential and it is very important that at this point in our lives when resources and the physical space have been confiscated by COVID-19 pandemic that we can now look inwards and look for how we can reduce waste.”
Shuaib further posited that “It is not the question of asking for more money for the health sector but more health for the money that has been provided.” While acknowledging the role of the Media in driving the implementation of the RMNCAEH+N strategies, he appealed to them to spread the news across all levels of the society focusing on health promotion, disease prevention, and management to ensure that people are rehabilitated.