-As FG Boosts Access to Basic Health and Nutrition
Worried by the disturbing statistics of infants’ mortality in the country, which has been described as the single largest contributor to the global annual mortality rate, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has said this is unacceptably high, as he identified inaccessibility to basic health and nutrition services as main reasons for the colossal loss.
According to him, one of the major challenges facing the country is high rate of infant mortality. “Nigeria is the single largest contributor to the global annual number of mortality rate; infant and child mortality rates are unacceptably high; a total fertility rate has remained stubbornly high and has worsened nutrition outcomes in children as well as immunization rates, especially among the poorest children”.
While regretting the development, he noted that those difficulties had grossly outpaced government spending on health and nutrition, coupled with government spending in recent years being unable to reach those who needed them most and doing little to reduce high and impoverishing out –of-pocket spending on health by poor Nigerians.
Prof. Adewole made this remarks at a forum organised by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and Partners, in Abuja, to co- finance efforts towards improving the health and nutrition of the poorest women, children and adolescent in the country.
In order to reverse the poor health indexes of the country, the minister announced that the Government of Nigeria is committed to ensuring that all Nigerians, particularly women, children and adolescents facing some of the most challenging circumstances in most places, have access to basic health and nutrition services that they need without becoming poorer by paying for them.
He said, “the GFF has created a new sense of awareness that we must put our money on the table for these essential investments in our people and use them in even smarter ways and that is something that has not been done before.
To this end, Adewole maintained that the grant from the GFF would co- finance early implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) with funds mobilised from the government and other contributors, starting in three states: Abia, Niger and Osun.
Following the start-up phase, the minister revealed that Nigerian Government would provide most of the financing for the scale-up to the remaining 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Also speaking, the Director of the GFF, Mariam Claeson, who expressed his views through the press state released by the Federal Ministry of Health, said that Nigeria’s commitment to sustainably financing health and nutrition was a beacon for other countries as they worked closely with the GFF to make sure the investment they made lasted for years to come.
‘’The Government of Nigeria will make an enormous difference in the lives of millions of Nigerians by making a lasting investment in the health and nutrition of women, children and adolescents, the foundation of the society and the economy’’.