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N12b plan to reduce maternal, infant deaths may suffer set back if…

By Dan-Maryam Zayamu

The Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) plan (2020-2022)  which has been estimated to cost 12,190,045,688 naira may not be fully implemented if the federation fail to take the needed actions and act fast.
The plan which is having only the next 12 months to be implemented was developed since 2020. Technically, it means the plan is supposed to expire by December 2022. Critical stakeholders in Nigeria have, therefore, been urged to support the federal government to ensure that the plan is implemented.
Speaking at a two-day Strategic Retreat with Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), young people and the media, the Coordinator of the African Health Budget Network, Dr. Aminu Magashi, lamented that the COVID-19 pandemic badly disrupted the implementation of the RMNCAEH+N.
He specifically mentioned limited availability of staff due to fear of COVID-19, reduction in antenatal care attendance, labour/delivery, new-born care, postnatal visits, use of family planning services and limited access to child health and nutrition services especially routine immunization services as well as attendant increase in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) as major areas disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, therefore, called on the CSOs, the media and other critical stakeholders to support the federal government to implement the RMNCAEH+N.
He noted that because of the huge effect of COVID-19 on RMNCAEH+N, the issue was a major topic of discussion during the recently concluded National COVID-19 Summit.
 “We have to encourage the government, this plan has been developed since 2020, technically, the plan is supposed to expire by December 2022, but very little has been executed.
“This means that the next 12 months is very critical. We need to support the government, we need to also engage and also help them to remember that the plan that was developed is very good and need to be implemented.
“The essence of the plan is to help Nigeria to ensure that services are not disrupted including Family Planning, adolescents and youth and other services,” he said.
While reiterating the importance of the RMNCAEH+N, Dr. Magashi said: “We just concluded the National Covid-19 summit in December in which the RMNCAEH+N plan was discussed.
“The summit has brought so many issues to tighten health security. This is because health security is the major challenge in Africa to ensure that we are able to control the outbreak of diseases to the barest minimum,” Dr. Magashi said.
While declaring the retreat open, Hon. Muhammad Usman, called on the government work hard to implement the plan as  this, according to him, will reduce maternal and infant mortality and also improve the trust Nigerians have on the federal government.
He, therefore, called for a strong political will and the right actions on the part of the government to resolve the challenges bedeviling the health sector.
“Nigerians hardly trust the government because of lack of transparency. Monies were voted in which every Nigeria should have benefited for the COVID-19, but only few people benefited.
“That is why when you talk to people about the COVID-19 vaccine, people refuse. This is because from the beginning there is lack  of sincerity on the part of the government.
“A lot of people sometimes feel hopeless on the happenings in the country. We should be optimistic. The things that are missing today are the political will as well as the actions needed to get things done. Once the person on the helm of affairs gets the right people around him, the right things will be done and things will change for the better. We can do it. The media has a role,” he said.
A cursory look at the cost of the plan indicated that the RMNCAEH+N will need 12,190,045,688 naira to be implemented.
The breakdown showed that procurement, logistics andsupply chain management will take 3,198,047,988 naira while health promotion and public awareness will take 4,532,426,100.

Written by ExpressDay

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