This Day (Lagos)

17 January 2013

Nigeria: Health Ministry Moves to Save One Million Lives

In a bid to facilitate the attainment of saving one million pregnant women and children from those who usually die during childbirth, the Federal Ministry of Health Wednesday began the process of bringing telephones to the rescue.

At a meeting with members of the United Nations Foundation, the Minister of State for Health, Muhammad Ali Pate, said the technology would go a long way in supporting and facilitating the attainment of the target of saving one million lives in 2015.

The Save-One-Million-Lives project was recently launched by the Federal Government.

The technology will enable health workers have prompt access to advice on any challenging health situation. This will enable them serve the people in a much more effective way.

Pate said his ministry would collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture because of its ability to connect with the rural farmers to reach the local people who needed the services most.

According to him, his ministry had already commenced the process of sourcing for funds from the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) to ensure that rural people have easy access to health information through their telephones.

Executive Director of Health Alliance, who are the providers of the technology, Patricia Mechael, said: "We want to work with Nigeria to become much more effective in the use of mobile phones and ICT to achieve the goal set forth in saving one million lives. We are working on how to leverage technology and infrastructure to improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and children."

She added: "We want to improve access to information that women and families need when they need it. It could be on anything, including nutrition during pregnancy, immunisation, making sure they are tied into the health system in a much more systematic way."

She affirmed that there was great political will in the country to execute the project in view of the efforts already made in the area of ICT in the country.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson, Executive Director National Primary Health Care Development Agency and heads of many government parastatals.

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