For there to be a significant reduction in the alarming rate of maternal mortality in the country, the Federal government of Nigeria has been advised to extend the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to the informal sector and poor people in rural communities.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who gave the advice, believes that the extension will lower the rate of maternal and child mortality.He explained that a partnership should be established between the Federal and State Governments.
According to a Channels TV report, the Governor spoke in Kaduna recently during the North-West Zonal launching of ‘Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results’ organised by the Federal Ministry of Health.
The Kaduna State Governor warned that if drastic interventions were not put in place to save the lives of pregnant women and children across Nigeria, the maternal and infant mortality rate would go higher.
“Maternal deaths in Nigeria have been described in many quarters as unacceptably high. Presently, Nigeria accounts for 14 per cent of maternal deaths in the world, a figure experts say is totally unacceptable if the country must make any meaningful progress”.
Delivering his keynote address at the occasion, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, explained that the programme was being funded from a $500 million credit that had been negotiated by the Federal Government with World Bank.
Professor Adewole stated that the fund was being disbursed to the states as an intervention in key areas such as maternal, new born and child health, improving child nutrition, immunisation, malaria control and the elimination of mother to child HIV transmission.
He said that the programme would be implemented by the States’ Ministries of Health based on an agreed plan of action.
Stakeholders at the meeting including the host Governor and Commissioner for Health in Jigawa State, Abbah Umar, highlighted some of the commitment by the state governments towards achieving the lowest minimum rate of maternal and child mortality in the rural areas.
The ‘Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results’ initiative is a Federal Government–led intervention effort focused at improving maternal and child health through a result based partnership with States’ Ministries of health.