11 May 2017

Nigeria: Govt to Upgrade Standard of Midwifery Practices in Nigeria

Photo: Lucia Zoro/Save the Children
Each year 40 million women across the world give birth without trained help, according to new research published by Save the Children, jeopardising millions of newborns and mothers' lives

Abuja — The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said the federal government has concluded plans to improve the standard of midwifery practices in the country.

This is coming as a Nollywood actor and producer, Jim Iyke, was unveiled as the Special Envoy/Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child health.

Adewole made this known yesterday during the commemoration of the 2017 International Day of the Midwife (IDM) in Abuja.

He stressed that a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce is an important catalyst to achieve the Universal Health Coverage, adding that there was also need for pre- service training which would involve regular curriculum review and provision of adequate funding.

He pointed out that the National Health Policy considered primary healthcare as the framework to improve health services for all Nigerians, which include the provision of health education, adequate nutrition, safe water and sanitation, reproductive health among others.

The minister hinted that the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) was established to provide strategic support for the development and delivery of primary healthcare, which includes developing guidelines on the implementation of primary healthcare services and enforcing such guidelines.

He said the state government was also expected to establish State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SPHCDA) to directly oversee the implementation of primary healthcare services in the various states.

Adewole further explained that the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) launched in 2009 aimed at ensuring skilled birth attendants through the recruitment and deployment of midwives to underserved areas as frontline workers was currently being reviewed.

"Our plan was to modify the scheme based on lesson learnt to improve efficient service delivery in our drive to revitalise the primary healthcare service delivery in the country," he added.

He emphasised that the ministry of health was committed to revitalising primary healthcare in Nigeria as bedrock of the health system.

While thanking other development partners especially UNFPA for strengthening the midwifery workforce over the years, the minister commended the wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, for supporting government initiative of providing quality Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services in the country through her NGO, 'WellBeing Foundation'.

Earlier, Mrs. Saraki stressed the need for government, non-governmental organisations and development partners to invest in capacity building for the midwives and nurses.

In a related development, the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN) has appointed Jim Iyke as the face of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in the country.

The National Coordinator, WRAN, Mr. Tonto Ibraye, said the popular actor was selected because of his affection for women and a committed father.

"One of the reason we selected him is that he is easy going and for the fact that he has a son. Over the years, we have been engaging a lot of women; it's time we engage men and Jim Iyke is going to be that face," Ibraye said.

Accepting the appointment, Jim Iyke pledged to bring the issue of maternal health to the front burner, lamenting the high rate of maternal and mortality in Nigeria, making it the second in the world.

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