In a determined move to support Nigeria’s weak and dilapidated health systems,the European Union,(EU) has given out 70 (Twenty three billion naira) million support grant to the Federal government which is aimed at strengthening the Primary Health Care Agencies,and addressing maternal and new born health concerns.
Michel Arrion,head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS,made the disclosure at the formal launch of 70 million Euro EU support to the Health Sector(2016-2020) on Thursday in Abuja.
The Project is the phase 1 support from the EU to the health sector under the 11th European Development Fund and will be jointly implemented by UNICEF and World Health Organisation(WHO) in partnership with the Federal government and the target states of Sokoto,Bauchi,Adamawa,Kebbi and Anambra.
According to the EU Ambassador,”The EU considers support to the health sector a priority.The importance of improving maternal and new-born health outcomes as well as strengthening the health system resilience is emphasised in the Partnership Agreement with the Government of Nigeria.
“This was an important element for drawing up the National Strategy Paper(NIP) of the 11th European Development Fund,(EDF) signed jointly between the EU and the Federal Government of Nigeria.This amounts to 512 million Euro over a five year period under which this 70 m€ project is being funded”He explained.
Accordingly also,Wondimagegnehu Alemu,WHO Country Representative said at the launch that, “WHO partnership with EU will enable the organisation to continue providing the necessary technical support to the Government of Nigeria towards strengthening the health systems and enhancing timely interventions during supplemental immunisation activities,including chidren in areas with insecurity in the north east”
On the other hand,Nigeria posts one of the worst health indices globally,and did not meet the Health and Nutrition-related Millennium Development Goals at the end of 2015.
Health experts have raised concerns that 10% of the global burden of maternal deaths is recorded in Nigeria.On average 33% of children in Nigeria are stunted as a result of mal-nutrition with much higher figures,above 50%,in northern Nigerian states.
Meanwhile,Isaac Adewole the Minister of Health in his submission reassured on the Federal government’s determination to achieve the revitalisation of 10 000 Primary Health care Centres across the country.
“Today is a significant and important day for us.When we came on board,and indicated our intention to reposition the health care system,some people are sceptical,and what we are seing today is that it is doable,Adewole said.
“We thank EU for giving the support at the appropriate time. Recall,the President flagged off revatilisation of Primary Health Centres and urged on International Partners , donors and network individuals to support the initiate, and today,we are seeing a positive gesture from the EU in that aspect”Adwole said.
”We want to thank the EU for making this happen and we believe that by 2020,the EU would have strengthened 774 PHCS in three states of the country,and so the journey towards the attainment of 10 000 PHCS target is on,and we are quite confident that we shall get there”he said.
The grant would also contribute to health system strengthening,in Sokoto and Anambra state,and also support efforts to rid Nigeria of Polio.”Adewole informed.
In his own submission,the Bauchi state Governor Mohammed Abubakar who spoke on behalf of the governors of Kebbi,Adamawa,and Sokoto,urged the Federal Ministry of Health to priotise the development of internal capacity in carrying out the works to the target group so that consultancy does not consume more than the target needs meant to be addressed by the interventions.
“We must build an internal capacity and ensure that the days would be over soon wherein a lot of this projects are carried out by consultants,as a result of which a lot of money is set aside towards consultancy rather than meeting the needs of the target groups.We must make the points rto develop internal capacity”The governor said.