By Paul Obi in Abuja
With about 694 days to the dateline for Health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations Special Envoy to Nigeria for Financing Health, MDGs and Malaria, Ray Mr. Chambers, has called for more concerted effort to accelerate the progress of the various programmes under the MDGs.
Speaking at an interactive session with stakeholders at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, Chambers told the gathering that the UN was “aware of the critical importance of all funding streams to align over the next eight quarters to executive this plan, state by state.” “The international community stands ready to support Nigeria,” he said.
According to Chambers, “Nigeria's commitment to the MDGs and to saving 400,000 children and 20,000 mothers lives by the end of 2015, which is essential for the world to reach the goals and for Nigeria to continue to make continued strides in improving lives is commendable, given that, these are Nigeria's most precious commodities.”
He explained that the new plan by the government in collaboration with the private sector “presents an aligned vision for accelerating progress to achieve the health-related MDGs in Nigeria over the remaining eight quarters.”
Also speaking, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the coalition between the government and private sector would provide an enabling platform for improved healthcare service delivery in the country, including filling existing gaps created by ‘geographical lapses.’
Chukwu observed that although Nigeria requires funding, such funding must be geared towards meeting critical healthcare needs of citizens for optimum results.
“There are areas posing challenges to us, but we want to go to areas that need us the most; we need funding, but we need to spend such funds prudently,” Chukwu said.
“I, as the Minister of Health, am committed to ensuring Nigeria turns the tide and improves health outcomes for its mothers and children by 2015,” the minister submitted.