The Federal Government has signed a 20 million dollar agreement with two international donor agencies to reduce preventable child and maternal deaths.
Health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu said while signing the agreement in Abuja with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and General Electric (GE) Healthcare, that the funds, estimated at N3.2 billion, would be used to address MDGs 4, 5 and 8.
The MDG 4 is on reduction of child mortality, MDG 5 is to improve maternal health, while MDG 8 is on global partnership.
Chukwu said that the funds would be used to improve healthcare equipment, training of healthcare workers and upgrading of healthcare facilities to reduce preventable maternal and child mortality.
â€œPresident Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s administration has been working with governments at all levels to achieve reduction in maternal and child deaths.
â€œThe Federal Government has continued to support primary healthcare centres; we have deployed over 6,000 healthcare workers that are providing services to expectant mothers.
â€œWe have also upgraded some of the general hospitals that are referral to primary healthcare facilities,â€™â€™ he said.
Chukwu said the programme, known as â€˜Healthy Imagination: Mother and Child Initiativeâ€™ would have each of the partners contributing towards the 20 million dollars in the first phase over the next five years.
The USAID Nigeria Director, Mr. Michael Harvey, had said that the focus of his organisation was to promote and support stronger governance, financial and human development for the benefit of all Nigerians.
â€œIndeed, the programmes with potential to improve the health and wellbeing of the population are critical focus of USAIDâ€™s activities in Nigeria.
â€œUSAID is proud to serve as a strategic partner to the Federal Ministry of Health and GE Foundation Healthcare in support of the imitative,â€™â€™ he said.
Also speaking, the GE Foundation spokesperson, Mr. David Barasch, acknowledged Nigeriaâ€™s efforts at reducing maternal and child mortality.
He said that lack of quality equipment could hinder effective progress at reducing maternal and child mortality, adding that most laboratory equipment were under-utilised.
â€œHealthcare workers need functional equipment for effective and efficient health service delivery,â€™â€™ he said.
Barasch pledged his organisationâ€™s commitment to support Nigeria with advanced technologies and other services.
Source: Nigerian Observer