At a national meeting between key stakeholders in the health sector and the media on best strategy to change the negative narrative around maternal and child mortality as well as poor indices in the health sector of the country, while taking into consideration some success stories from states like Cross River, Lagos, Jigawa etc which will serve as best practice for the rest of the country, the Federal Ministry of Health launched the operational plan for RMNCAEH + N 2021 to jump start the system.
It is no news that maternal mortality as well as death in children have continued to rise in Nigeria inspite of government effort and donor support to the country. There is urgent need to reduce maternal and child mortality as well as build a health system that can clearly change the present picture. These were the issues on the front burner as Nigeria held its First Quarter 2021 meeting of the Nigeria Reproductive Maternal Newborn Adolescent Elderly Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Coordination Platform (MSPCP). The objectives of the meeting included: To sensitize and advocate to Media Chief Executives Officers on their roles and responsibilities towards improving health and wellbeing of women, children, adolescents, and elderly to achieve the goal of RMNCAEH+N strategy in Nigeria. The event was also used to disseminate RMNCAEH+N MSP Coordination Platform 2021 AOP and RMNCAEH+N COVID-19 Response Continuity Plan 2020-2022.
The Honorable Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire called for improvement in health promotion across the country as a veritable tool to improve on health indices. He assured states on support from the Federal Government to create Department of Family Health at the state ministries of Health as well as Health promotion unit. He further said that to achieve Universal Health Coverage we must change strategy as a nation and get all hands on board through innovative programs like emergency ambulance services. The minister of Health for state, Senator Mamora noted the critical role of the media in promoting quality health care. He acknowledged the role the played in the COVID-19 response and has asked for such proactive efforts to be applied to maternal and child health to get needed improvement.
At the launch the National Chairman of the Nigerian Health Commissioner Forum Dr Betta Edu has called on the Federal Government to work towards system strengthening at all levels, to achieve Universal Health care and reduce maternal mortality we must apply new strategies, we must decentralize the health sector from implementation in Abuja to state based implementation, the work is actually at state level with different states facing great challenges. The issue of Human resource for health as well as Health insurance policy made mandatory for all are critical points that must be achieved. Health promotion must go beyond conventional print and electronic media to other forms of media reach which our people can identify with at the villages and communities. More emphasis should be directed towards implementation at the lower levels. A bottom up approach will change the picture of poor health indices in the country.
Others who spoke were the Health ambassador and traditional leader Dr Iyaha, who commended some states like Cross River state, Lagos and Jigawa states for the many innovative programs to address maternal and child mortality some of which include implementation of Health insurance scheme, collaboration with transport associations to move pregnant women in labour to health facilities, upgrade of health facilities amongs other things. the Dean of Media who advised the Federal ministry of Health to provide more Health information about ongoing interventions through frequent engagements with media.
High light was the launch of the RMNCAEH + N operational plan for 2021 by the minister of Health.