“Maternity Health in Nigeria: Progress is Possible”- Gov Mimiko


Governor Olusegun Mimiko has emphasised that maternal health is possible in Nigeria provided there are a strong political will and resource accountability. He disclosed this on Wednesday, 16th January 2013 while delivering his speech as a key speaker at the globally acclaimed Centre For Strategy and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC, USA.
During his two-hour speech presentation tagged ‘Maternal Health in Nigeria: Progress is Possible’ Governor Mimiko enlightened the audience on how governments at all levels could achieve desired significant results in tackling the problem of infants death and maternal mortality.
He hinted that success recorded so far by his administration is attributed to the sincerity of purpose, political will and a pragmatic positive approach to many challenges posed by the maternal health concerns in Nigeria.
The Centre for Strategic and International Studies is a global centre where bipartisan policy solutions and strategic insights are being examined and events featuring invited prominent world leaders and experts are regularly hosted.
The CSIS report on global health policy centre is beamed on ‘Maternal Health in Nigeria, with Leadership Progress is possible’. At the centre, Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko, a medical doctor and architect of the Abiye model, described the ‘Abiye’s safe motherhood programme achievements to date and challenges ahead. Co-Speakers at the event are Dinesh Nair, a World Bank senior health specialist for Nigeria, who described the Bank’s “results-based financing” pilot program in Ondo, Murtala Mai of Pathfinder International who is also the former country director for Nigeria discussed the broader maternal health trends in the country as well as Jennifer E. Cooke, a director of the CSIS Africa Program.
Oby Ezekwesili, then vice-president for Africa at the World Bank, praised the program as a “a role model and a benchmark for African continent in tackling infants and maternal mortality rate”.
Evidence from sources credited to the CSIS interviews and investigations conducted in Nigeria revealed that Governor Mimiko of Ondo State has remained intimately involved in the management and oversight of the ‘Abiye’ safe motherhood model and vested so much in its success.
According to the published report by the Centre For Strategic and International Studies there are indications that Nigeria’s status would change from being identified to being 1 of the 10 most dangerous countries in the world for women to give birth as indicated in a shared document from the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA published in Geneva last year, that an estimated 630 of every 100,000 live births result in a maternal death.
The CSIS report highlighted that despite the bleak national statistics there are signs of growing opportunity in Nigeria. “In the last five years, the federal government has devoted far greater policy attention and resources to health maternal health than previously and a handful of some state governments are beginning to tackle the challenge in a strategic and comprehensive ways”, according to CSIS.
The latest report jointly authored by Jennifer Cooke and Farha Tahir who are, respectively, director and research associate of the Africa Program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies maintained that in August 2012, CSIS Africa Program Staff visited many places in Nigeria to get the sense of the challenges at the state and local government level in order to determine where lies the responsibility of the primary health care and to identify instances where real progress is being made.
“The CSIS team visited Ondo State in the South Western region of Nigeria where the government’s ABIYE (“Safe Motherhood” in the Yoruba Language) has won early praise from the maternal and public health experts in Nigeria and beyond.
Ondo State ABIYE model is a work in progress, and the initiative’s leadership is cognizant of the challenges associated with scale-up and sustainability over time. But the program does provide a positive preliminary model of how data collection, technology and innovation, efficient use of resources and mechanisms of accountability -backed by sustained political will – can come together in a comprehensive strategy, that in its first two years, is yielding significant results.” The report stated.
by Lashley Oladigbolu

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