By Aderogba George
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has called for increased awareness by policy makers and stakeholders to ensure good health and safe motherhood.
He made the call on Thursday in Abuja at a news conference to commemorate the 2021 National Safe Motherhood Day.
Represented by Mr Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, Ehanire said that the awareness creation would also ensure optimal maternal health for national development.
According to him, this year’s Safe Motherhood Day focuses on sensitisation of mothers and the public on the need to patronise and utilise available maternal services amid the COVID-19 scourge.
He said the successful implementation of the pillars of safe motherhood was crucial to the attainment of item three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ehanire added that but for the activities of the World Health Assembly that coincided within the period of the Safe Motherhood Day, the day ought to have been marked since May 22 as the global date.
He commended the 15 states that used the period to commemorate and draw attention of policy makers, opinion leaders and partners, as well as programme managers to emerging issues on safe motherhood.
According to the minister, recent evidence from the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2018 shows that Nigeria has made some progress toward improving the health of women and children.
He further said that current statistics indicated that maternal mortality ratio had also reduced from 576 per 100,000 live births in 2013 to 512 per 100,000 births in 2018.
“A lot needs to be done if we must achieve or come anywhere close to the SDG goal three which aims to reduce maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.
“For a safe motherhood, we must ensure skilled birth attendants and every woman must have quality emergency obstetric care and reproductive healthcare, including family planning.
“The Federal Government, through the ministry, has been working closely with partners to ensure increased use of high quality Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) aimed at swift reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality in Nigeria,” he said.
He explained that government was already addressing some reforms such as the establishment of Modified Midwives Services Scheme (MSS), task shifting and task sharing policy, and a lot more for better healthcare system.
Mr Abdullahi Mashi, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, noted that the rate of maternal and newborn mortality called for coordinated efficient delivery system through interventions and improved maternal and newborn indices in the country.
According to him, the department of family health in the ministry is committed to the Global Strategy for Women, Children and Adolescents’ Health of 2016 to 2030.
He said strategy envisioned a world in which every woman, child and adolescent in every setting realised the right to physical and mental well-being.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the 2021 National Safe Motherhood Day is “Improving Demand, Access and Utilisation of Maternal Services in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Partners at the news conference include World Health Organisation (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). (NAN)