The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has charged state governors to give priority attention to the health sector by deploying more resources to it, saying such steps will help to curb the high rate of maternal mortality in the country.
Adewole, who spoke recently at a reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child, adolescent health and nutrition meeting held in Abuja with stakeholders, organised by Future Assured, a non governmental organisation that is owned by the wife of the president, Hajia Aisha Buhari, lamented the increasing rate of maternal mortality in the country.
He commended the First Lady for the initiative saying, "This is the change we desire. Wives of leaders must, as of necessity, compliment their husbands by providing much needed support to promote efficient delivery of electoral promises to Nigerians.
"Health is a cardinal deliverable of this administration and it is therefore not surprising that the wife of Mr. President is focusing on health of the vulnerable groups - women and children - through her NGO, Future Assured."
He pointed out that, "Every minute of every day, somewhere in the world, a pregnant woman dies as a result of complications arising during pregnancy or child birth and the majority of these deaths are avoidable in Nigeria.
"Current statistics indicate that, our Maternal Mortality Ratio is 576 per 100,000 live births (NDHS 2013).
Maternal Mortality Ratio remains unacceptably high despite significant reduction in Maternal Mortality globally, in the past one and a half decade."
"As you are aware, the under-five mortality rate is still unacceptably high in this country largely due to high newborn deaths but we have made some significant progress. The under-five mortality declined from 201/1000 live births NDHS 2003 to 128/1000 live births NDHS 2013.
"A strong advocacy by Your Excellencies to our governors to invest in health as they do to other physical infrastructure like roads will be desirable."
Harping on steps taken so far by the present government, the minister explained that the Buhari-led administration is working to make the PHCs the entry point into the healthcare system.
"Our vision is to make 10,000 of the available 30,000 PHCs functional in the life of this administration. We know this is a big idea that needs huge investment. We have started the journey, with Mr. President personally kick-starting the drive at Kuchigoro community in Abuja," Adewole said.