The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, United States Agency for International Development and GE Healthcare Sign Innovative $20 Million Partnership at the World Economic Forum to Reduce Preventable Child-Maternal Deaths in Nigeria

Photo: GE
(Left) John Rice, Vice-Chairman, GE, Hong Kong SAR, Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on Africa with (Center) Nigeria's Honourable Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu and (Right) GE Africa head Jay Ireland
9 May 2014
Content from our Premium Partner
GE Africa (Lagos)
press release
  • Partnership sees formation of the new Healthymagination Mother & Child Initiative aimed at tackling maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria – one of Africa's biggest healthcare challenges - and supports the ongoing efforts of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health's "Save One Million Lives" program;
  • The multilateral public/private partnership will draw on the competencies, capabilities and know-how of the respective partners to bring funding, technology and expertise in training & education to develop unique solutions to improve Nigeria's primary healthcare infrastructure and help build capacity for maternal and infant care;
  • In line with GE's global commitment to increase access to affordable and quality healthcare, the collaboration will put portable GE ultrasound technology like Vscan* into the hands of healthcare providers in Nigeria for the first time

The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/Nigeria) and GE Healthcare (GE:NYSE) today joined hands with the signing of a first-of-its-kind, 5-year initiative on the ground at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Abuja, Nigeria. With the formation of the Healthymagination Mother & Child Initiative, the partners will collaborate on the development and implementation of viable solutions and a sustainable model of delivery aimed at increasing capacity in the primary healthcare system and providing affordable financing options to support the reduction of preventable child-maternal mortality in Nigeria.

Specifically, the Initiative will bring together mobile and alternative powered health technology; taskshifting programs for nurses and midwives through a significant focus on training and education; and consumer education for pregnant mothers to drive the right referrals at the right time to impact Millennium Development Goals 4 (reducing child mortality) and 5 (improving maternal health).

Under the terms of the agreement, each of the respective partners will contribute towards the $20 million program in the first phase for the acquisition of point-of-care equipment to strengthen the effectiveness, impact, efficiency and sustainability of primary care health facilities and services in rural and urban areas. The multilateral agreement provides scope for the addition of third parties in phase two, including donors, NGOs and other experts to ensure long-term sustainability and achievement of critical program objectives.

To be rolled out over several phases in partnership with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) of Nigeria - the coordinating body of the FMOH; the Initiative will engage in close collaboration with Federal, State and local health governing bodies to launch, communicate and drive accountability through new and existing frameworks. Over time, it is envisaged that the Initiaitve will identify key learnings and best practices relevant for child and maternal care practitioners in Africa and beyond.

The Honorable Professor C.O Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Minister of Health of Nigeria, said, "While Nigeria still comprises a large share of the world's burden of child and maternal morbidity and mortality, infant mortality in Nigeria has seen a 38% reduction to 78 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012. These positive trends are indicative of the Nigerian Government's genuine commitment and sustained investment for maternal and newborn health, where notable progress has been made over the past few years. We have hired over 6,000 new healthcare workers that are today providing better services to expectant mothers and it is estimated that 22,000 more expectant mothers are now receiving care during pregnancy. Clearly, there is still more to do, and with partnerships like this with GE, USAID, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of Nigeria, we can achieve our goals through our Save One Million Lives program."

USAID Nigeria Mission Director, Michael T. Harvey stated, "In Nigeria, USAID's focus is to promote and support stronger governance, financial and human development and to serve as partners in the creation and implementation of economic and civil strategies for the benefit of all Nigerians. Indeed, programs with the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of the population are a critical focus of USAID's activities in Nigeria. USAID is proud to serve as a strategic partner to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and GE Healthcare in support of the Healthymagination Mother & Child Initiative. The reality that we know today is unacceptable and heartbreaking—as nearly 300,000 mothers and 3 million newborns continue to die every year from causes we know how to prevent. Through this initiative, USAID is partnering to scale up cutting-edge solutions and unlock a brighter future for the next generation of Nigerian leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs."

Skander Malcolm, President & CEO, GE Healthcare Eastern & Africa Growth Markets said: "At GE, we recognize that it takes all different perspectives and contributions to solve a problem and when you consider Africa's vast healthcare challenges, medical equipment alone is not enough. As an integral part of our commitment to Africa, we are focused on designing new models of healthcare delivery leveraging affordable technology, a significant focus on training and skills enhancement and nurturing sustainable partnerships to develop localized solutions aligned firmly with the needs of the continent. Supporting the Nigerian Ministry of Health, in partnership with USAID and other potential collaborators, we have all the contributors to the solution right here at the WEF."

He added: "We are grateful to the Ministry of Health of Nigeria and USAID for their confidence in the capabilities that GE can bring to support the development of a program with the potential to improve maternal and infant survival rates. A challenge of this scale is a multi-year effort and we are fully committed to this partnership over the long-term and ultimately, to supporting better outcomes for Nigeria's mothers and babies and their families."

Nigeria's progress toward improving maternal and newborn survival has been noteworthy, with the rate of maternal deaths dropping by almost half since 1990, when figures estimated 1,000 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, compared with 584 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births in 2011.1 However, in stark contrast with its counterpart 'MINT' countries, the rate of maternal and infant mortality today in Nigeria remains significant, at almost three times higher than Indonesia and even higher compared to Mexico and Turkey.2 Moreover, maternal mortality and infant mortality rates in Nigeria are estimated to be around 30 and 15 times higher, respectively, compared with the United States and Europe.

The Healthymagination Mother and Child Initiative will give healthcare providers in Nigeria first-time access to GE portable ultrasound technology like Vscan. Developed to provide physicians in remote areas with imaging capabilities at the point-of-care, Vscan is a pocket-sized medical tool that houses ultrasound technology and provides doctors with an immediate, non-invasive method to help visualize information about what is happening inside the body. At almost the footprint of a smartphone, the portable Vscan can easily be taken from room to room to be used in many clinical, hospital or primary care settings.

In Nigeria and across Africa, GE Healthcare is committed to providing transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. GE has been active in the continent for over 100 years, partnering with some of the region's leading healthcare providers, including Ministries of Health. Today, over 25,000 GE Healthcare systems and technologies are deployed in hospitals across the continent.

GE is committed to supporting the sustainable development of Nigeria with advanced infrastructure technologies, services and solutions. Operating in Nigeria for over 40 years with businesses spanning across a number of key sectors including aviation, energy, healthcare, power & water and rail transportation, GE is focused on supporting Nigeria's Vision 20:2020 and to further expanding its footprint in the country, with ambitious plans to invest over $1 billion over the next five years.


1. Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs.

Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health. 2013.

2. CIA Worldfact Book: Maternal Mortality Rates: and Infant Mortality Rates:

3. Ibid reference 2

Note to Editors

*Trademark of General Electric Company

About the Partners

Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health:

The Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria's mission is to develop and implement policies and programs and undertake other actions to deliver effective, efficient, quality and affordable health services. The Ministry has several departments specializing in different aspects of health care. The Family Health department is concerned with creating awareness on Reproductive, Maternal Neonatal and Child Health, ensuring sound nutrition including infant and young child feeding, and care of the elderly and adolescents. The department of Public Health coordinates formulation, implementation and evaluation of public health policies and guidelines.

It undertakes health promotion, surveillance, prevention and control of diseases. Functions of the department of Planning Research And Statistics include developing plans and budgets and monitoring their implementation, serving as Secretariat to the National Council on Health, conducting research in collaboration with other departments and agencies, institutions and parastatals, conducting operational research and data collection, and performing various coordination functions.

The department of Hospital Services supervises 53 Federal Tertiary Hospitals – Nigeria's Teaching hospitals, Federal Medical Centres and National Eye Centers. The department processes appointment of Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors, supervises oral health research, develops policies on nursing,coordinates training programmes for nurses and monitors the midwifery service scheme in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) of Nigeria.


USAID is a U.S. Government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. USAID's Development Credit Authority (DCA) works with investors, local financial institutions, and development organizations to design and deliver investment alternatives that unlock financing for entrepreneurs in the developing world.

For more information about USAID, visit


GE works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works.

GE Healthcare:

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems. Our "healthymagination" vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world.

Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE).

Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries.

Supporting UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 GE in Africa is making a difference in the implementation of MDGs 4 (to reduce by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate) and 5 (to reduce by threefourths the maternal mortality rate) by 2015 and is committed to impacting access and the continuum of care in a rural setting, by continuing to design products and solutions leveraging ongoing research and collaboration in the global health community. GE partners with the United Nations Foundation on the''Every Woman Every Child" commitment, as well as on the MDG Health Alliance and African First Ladies Initiative.

For more information, please contact:

Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health

Dan Nwomeh

Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Minister

Federal Ministry of Health

+234 (0) 8033236501 or +2347054658028


Josephine Kamara

+234 (0) 803-408-1055


Lisa Farrugia

+90 530 387 1850

Tracy Doyle

GE Healthcare GE Public Affairs

+1 262 853-6983

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.