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World Health Day: Expert charges stakeholders to protect women, children from COVID-19 effect

Stakeholders have been called upon to take actions that will protect women, children and adolescents from the disproportionate indirect social and economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated financial crisis.
The Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), Helga Fogstad, made the call in a statement to mark the World Health Day. 
This is even as youth leaders and civil society groups from across Nigeria have called on the governments at all levels to invest in equity enhancing strategies in order to restore what they described as ‘crumbling health services’ for women, newborns, children and adolescents.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Coordinator of Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, in Abuja.
The statement further quoted the Executive Director of the (PMNCH), as lamenting that: “COVID-19 has exacerbated inequities, putting at risk hard won gains that have been made over the past decade.”
The theme for the year 2021 World Health Day is ‘Building a fairer, healthier world’.
The theme, according to the statement, reminds the global community of the need to invest in equity enhancing strategies to address the needs of the most vulnerable.
“Nigeria is among 10 countries around the world that recently heeded the call, and recently made major commitments to prioritize investments for the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents.
“The West African nation has pledged $2.3 billion during 2020-2028 for strategic interventions that protect the reproductive, maternal, new-born, child, adolescent and elderly health and nutrition through access to family planning services; immunization; and nutrition programmes,” the statement noted.    
It further revealed that youth leaders, campaigners and representatives of civil society organisations from across Nigeria are currently meeting to deliberate on the progress of improving the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents in the country.
Speaking, Chairman of the National Advocates for Health (NA4H),  Muhammad Usman, called on the federal and state governments to improve budgetary allocations and also release, in a timely manner, funds meant for the health sector.
“The World Health Day 2021 is aimed at building a fairer and healthier Nigeria.
“I am therefore calling on both the federal and state governments to improve budgetary allocations and timely release of funds for health interventions, particularly for family planning, nutrition, primary healthcare – including the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) – and the national health insurance for universal health coverage,” he stressed.
While quoting the WHO recent health statistics in Nigeria, the statement said: “About 20 per cent of all global maternal deaths occurred in Nigeria, with over 600,000 maternal deaths and about 900,000 maternal near-miss cases between 2005 and 2015 respectively.
“A woman in Nigeria has a 1-in-22 lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum/post-abortion compared with the lifetime risk of 1 in 4900 in the most developed countries.
  “Nigeria’s large population size and high women, children and adolescent (WCA) morbidity and mortality means that the country’s progress can significantly shift the development in Africa and globally.”

Written by ExpressDay

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