FG to boost funding to strengthen Primary Healthcare System

ABUJA – The Federal Government on Tuesday said it would boost the funding for health system in the country to improve the lives of the citizens.

President Goodluck Jonathan said made the assertion in Abuja at the Inter-Faith Summit for Child Health organised by the Nigerian Inter-Faith Action Association (NIFAA).

Jonathan, represented by Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the National Strategic Health Development plan would serve as the overarching, all-encompassing and reference document for all health stakeholders.

“The Federal Government recognises that to improve the health and well-being of Nigerians, there is a great need to scale up and strengthen the country’s health system.

“This will include additional financing for health and strengthening the country’s Primary Healthcare System.

He said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had estimated that more than 287,000 women died every year as a direct result of child bearing.

The president said in Nigeria, infant mortality rate was 69 per 1,000 live births, while under five mortality rate is 128 per 1,000 live births.

“The contraceptive prevalence rate for the country is 14.1 per cent for any method and unmet needs still stand at 18.9 per cent (NDHS 2013 preliminary report),’’ he said.

Jonathan said the country had put in a number of measures to ensure the survival and well being of children.

He said the measures would help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 to bring down to 75 deaths per one 1,000 live-births.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar III and President, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, restated their commitment to ensure that all childhood diseases were eradicated.

Abubakar said the country had made progress in some areas in health, adding that more efforts were still needed.

He urged the media to be objective in their reportage, saying that “many good things are happening in the country that are under-reported’’.

On the issue of terrorism, the Sultan said all the religions must collaborate to fight it to save the country.

The sultan said terrorism did not know any religion because the insurgents attacked Christians, Muslims and other believers.

“Muslims want to live according to Islamic teachings, nobody has the right to judge others except the Almighty Allah,’’ he said.

Earlier, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, Executive Director, NIFAA, said there was global evidence that religious communities were effective in passing behaviour messages for health issues.

Onuoha said religious communities could offer crucial support for health projects, noting that in Nigeria, they had achieved a lot especially in the area of health.

“We are eager to look for new ways to leverage the religious community and the trust that we have from our people.

“The experience we have supporting health and the fact that we reach every part of the country had helped in addressing health issues,’’ he said.

Onuoha said NIFAA would develop an action plan that would serve as a road map on how they would save lives with proven interventions. (NAN)

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