Leadership (Abuja)

17 January 2013

Nigeria: U.S. Health Experts Hail Mimiko's Abiye Health Programme

Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica
Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko started the Abiye initiative, a new program that offers free healthcare to pregnant women and children under five.

For Nigeria to attain the millennium Goal in health and reverse the prevalent high mortality rate amongst mother and child, it must adopt with immediate dispatch, the Ondo State *Abiye* Mother programme.

This was the submission of health experts from around the globe, including the World Bank and representatives from the United States government who spoke in Washington DC during a presentation by Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko Mimiko on his health programme in the American capital city on Thursday.

Mimiko, whose innovative mother and child health model tagged *Abiye* (safe Motherhood) had received world acclaims and had been dubbed as a benchmark for Nigeria and a template for Africa by international organisations such as the World Health Organisations (WHO) and the World Bank Dr Mimiko was the guest of the prestigious Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC where he presented a paper on the *Abiye* model.

Experts in maternal health who were enthralled by Governor Mimiko's achievements in the health sector for which he has reversed the hitherto high rate of maternal and child mortality in the State to become the best-managed programme by any government in Nigeria, recommended it for Nigeria if it must achieved the Millennium health goal and be deemed serious in the health sector.

They lamented a situation in which mere lip services were being paid to healthcare delivery by successive administrations as well as the low level performance of some of the nation's programme such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which they put at an abysmally low performance ration of below 5%.

Speakers at the event including Jennifer Cooke, CSIS Director, Africa Program, Dinesh Nair, Senior Health Specialist at the World Bank and Mohammad Murtala Mai, Senior Technical Advisor, Pathfinder International rued the sad fact that Nigeria today remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for a woman to give birth; they however enthused that there were signs of growing opportunities in the nation currently.

While pointing to the fact that in recent years, the federal government had devoted greater policy attention and resources to maternal health than previously, they noted that a handful of state governments were also beginning to tackle the challenge in a strategic and comprehensive way.

They noted that in Ondo State, the *Abiye *(Safe Motherhood) program was winning praises as one such promising models, creating incentives for expectant mothers to seek care and for health providers to deliver quality services. They equally commended the efforts of the State Government under

Dr Mimiko for his pioneering initiatives and zeal in Ondo state at reducing maternal and child mortality.

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