MINISTER of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu
By Segun Awofadeji
Plans are underway by the federal Government is to employ 9, 000 midwives, nurses and community health workers nation-wide to curb the rising maternal and infant mortality rates in the country.
This was disclosed by the north east zonal coordinator, Performance and Results (Sure-P), Engineer Ali Fatoma in an interview with newsmen Tuesday at the Sindaba Hotel, Bauchi during a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) orientation programme organised for midwives and community development health workers under the SURE- P scheme.
Fatoma said that the midwives would be deployed to various rural areas in the geo-political zones and assisted by Community Health Workers (CHEW) and Village Health Workers (VHWs) to support the work going on in the communities
According to him, under the SURE-P programme, the Federal Government would reinvest its oil subsidy funds into a combination of programmes including health to stimulate the economy and alleviate poverty through critical infrastructure and safety net projects.
The SURE-P coordinator, who said that the programme is aimed at complementary the efforts of the Primary Health Care Development Agencies in the nation, disclosed that “this is one of the programmes as safety net for our unemployed midwives and nurses.
“The other component is on infrastructures and we have one on employment. Already there exists nurses and midwives by state government but what the SURE-P MCH intends to do is to bring in more nurses and midwives and even village health workers to attend to pregnant mothers and infant.”
He said that the SURE-P MCH programme the federal government would provide additional funds over the next four years in order to improve the lives of women and children under the ages of five by thereby reducing the maternal and infant mortality rates.
He said the programme would upgrade selected Primary Health Care Centres facilities, set up referral centres in each senatorial zone to handle emergency cases, provide drugs and equipment to selected facilities and provide ante-natal services for a minimum of two to three days immunization of the child.
Speaking during the workshop, the Executive Director of the Primary Health Care Development Agency, Abuja, Dr Ado Muhammad, expressed the hope that Sure-P MCH would improve the health outcomes of women and children in rural communities in the attainment of the MDGs 4 and 5.
Muhammad said that the SURE-P MCH would recruit midwives, community health workers and village health workers for deployment to additional 500 PHC centres selected from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said: “The health workers would be trained on life saving skills, expanded life-saving skills for medical officers in the General Hospitals, integrated, management of childhood illnesses and other initiatives and also provide MAM kits, Outreach kits and VHW kits.