The Office of the Senior Special Assistant on the Millennium Development Goals, OSSAP-MDGs and other stakeholders in the Health sector have again declared their resolve to fight the menacing problem of maternal mortality in the country. The commitment was made Tuesday 12 March 2013 at the workshop organised for the validation of the report from the MDGs Acceleration Framework (MAF) Technical session.
Speaking at the forum, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr Precious Kalamba Gbeneol represented by the Director MDGs, Babalola Lateef noted that the government is concerned about the incidences of women dying during pregnancy and child birth and is committed to reducing the problem to ensure that mothers enjoy the period of their pregnancy and delivery.
“As you well know there is a significant urban-rural divide in estimates, with rural areas doing considerably worse. Again as you know, there is significant regional variation: maternal mortality estimates in the North East zone are very high, compared with low estimates in the South West zone. In order for Nigeria to succeed in achieving Goal 5 by 2015, a concerted effort is required to mitigate this growing in-country divergence.” Gbeneol stated.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, represented by a Director in the Ministry, Ngozi Azodo stated that the MAF initiative remains a welcome initiative. “It remains our expectation at the Federal Ministry of Health that the application of MAF to MDG 5 will lead very quickly to additional gains and performance improvement. We must never lose sight of the fact that we must do all within our power to further save the lives of our mothers and children.” Onyebuchi noted.
The minister added that the onus is on the government and all stakeholders in the health sector to transform words and documents into definitive accomplishments and implement the agreed action plan.
MAF, as a strategy is designed by the United Nations to increase the efficiency of attainment of the MDGS through the identification of bottlenecks and barriers to progress in the run up to the 2015 deadline. At the moment, MAF is being applied to goal 5 as the first of the Goals to go through the acceleration process and targeted at reducing the occurrences of maternal mortality by the Federal Government in partnership with the United Nations Country System in Nigeria and United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
The validation workshop of the MAF action plan is the culmination of a three-month painstaking process that has seen the aggregation of nationwide expertise and experience in this area from across all the states of the nation, from all levels of society including actors who function in all areas of health care provision for mothers through the pregnancy and birth process. Participants at the workshop include representatives from MDGs related MDAs, United Nations system in Nigeria, DFID Health sector practitioners among others.
MAF has been successfully implemented in a number of countries across Africa. But it is believed that such a tool needs to be moulded to the specific country. The Validation Workshop is the last stage of development of the MAF Action Plan and as such requires high-level buy-in. The workshop is thus considered a crucial process in ensuring the effectiveness of the MAF intervention.