The Executive Director, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, on Friday said that 80 per cent of coverage in rountine immunisation by Nigeria was highly commendable in eradicating polio.
He said the initiative had brought down child mortality rate in the country adding that the success stories needed to be reported, especially to the international community.
“When I met with the executive director before I came here, he actually informed me that you now have routine immunisation running at more than 80 per cent.
“That is really excellent, because that is what will drive down child mortality.
“He also informed me that polio is also within reach of total extinction.
“I think these are stories that should be told, because when you go out people still talk of Nigeria being the purview of polio to the rest of the world, but actually that is not true.’’
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He also commended government’s human resource for health initiative, which introduced the Midwife Service Scheme (MSS).
He said the MMS, which started in his tenure as a minister of health, had expanded.
He said it had also provided a means of reaching out to other health workers to carry out basic health needs in the hospitals.
Osotimehin said the ability to provide universal healthcare for all Nigerians was what would strengthen the health system.
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“I am also happy that we are not looking at midwives alone, but we are looking at other health workers.
“Because it is important to appreciate that the other health workers can actually carry out many of the things we want the midwives to do.
“When we look at the issues of what a midwife does, even a village health worker should be able to take weight, test urine and do things which do not require to have been by the midwife.
“But I think just being able to do that and do it effectively is what would strengthen the system.
“Because, what we have lacked all along is the ability to provide care for women and girls, close to where they live.’’
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He added that if Nigerians cultivated the culture of delegating tasks, a lot of things could be achieved.
He stressed the need for the monitoring and evaluation of activities of health workers at the primary healthcare centres to promote accountability and sustainability of the scheme.
The executive director said training of health workers should be focused on and that provision of health care was an emerging trend.
He said UNFPA’s mandate was focused on all issues, promoting maternal health, adding that efforts should be geared towards promoting access to family planning services in all centres.
He stressed the need for cooperation between the NPHCDA and the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme’s (SURE-P’s) Maternal and Child Health programme, saying this was for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Osotimehin said there was high demand for long term family planning methods and, however, that there was still a gap in delivery of those services.“We are trying to see the possibility of training community health extension workers on long term family planning methods, this is the right thing to do.”