FG Unveils New Universal Health Coverage Platform

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Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire
  • Ehanire: Poor health indices unacceptable

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The Federal Ministry of Health has said it has resolved to establish a Nigeria Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N), multi-stakeholder partnership coordination platform aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of women, children, adolescents and the elderly.

Addressing a press conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja on Friday, the Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the present poor health indices in the country are not acceptable to the federal government.

He said that it was in realization of government’s vision to achieve universal health coverage that the Federal Ministry of Health is repositioning its approach to partnership to maximize the impact for better outcomes.

He said: “Our health indices are unacceptably poor, with a maternal mortality ratio of 512 per 1,000 live births, under-five mortality rate of 132 per 1,000 live births and neonatal mortality rate of 39 per 1000 livebirths”.

The minister however noted that the present administration has made modest progress towards improvement of child survival and safe motherhood.

According to Ehanire, the impact 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.

In addition, the minister said that the operationalization of the National Health Act and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund will greatly improve access to quality health care for the vulnerable, particularly at the primary healthcare level.

“We have resolved to establish a Nigeria Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) multi-stakeholder partnership coordination platform to be launched on Monday, 12th of October, 2020.

“The vision for this multi-stakeholder coordination platform is to harness the relative strengths of the diverse stakeholders and create opportunities to leverage resources to maximize outcomes for attainment of our shared vision for Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable population,” Ehanire said.

The minister added that the motto of the new initiative is “partnering for 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’.

He said the federal government’s responsibility for the well-being of women, children, adolescent and elderly took cognizance of their roles in national development since they constitute a significant proportion of the Nigerian populace.

He said there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic had its toll on routine health care delivery around the world and at the initial phase, severely impacted RMNCAH+N services in Nigeria, adding “that lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic are being utilized to strengthen our health system and reposition it for more resilience, to improve health and wellbeing of the vulnerable across population life cycle”.