The Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday restated government’s resolve to implementing result-oriented programmes to achieve the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Chukwu made the statement at a news conference to mark ‘1,000 Days to the 2015 Target for Achieving the MDGs’.
He said that the National Strategic Health Plan and the Saving One Million Lives initiatives were geared toward meeting MDG 4, reducing child mortality, MDG 5, improving maternal health and MDG 6, combating major diseases.
“With regards to the MDGs 4, there has been a substantial decrease in child mortality in Nigeria within the past 12 years.”
“A comparison of mortality estimates, obtained from the 2008 National Demographical Health Survey with the estimate from the 2003 for the zero-to-four years preceding the survey, shows that the rate has decreased.
“In addition, the Saving One Million Lives initiative was launched as a coordinating mechanism to save one million women and under-five children before the end of the target year, 2015.”
He said that a remarkable reduction in paralysis, due to the wild polio virus had been recorded and that the incidence of measles and other common vaccine preventable diseases had declined.
Chukwu said that polio eradication and limitation of occurrence of vaccine preventable diseases, using education and other interventions, remained priority for government.
According to him, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has scaled up its activities to meet the 2015 target.
He said that a new vaccine for cerebral-spinal meningitis had been introduced in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, adding that the drug had been distributed to states where the disease was endemic.
Under the MDGs 5, Chukwu said that Nigeria government had committed some money for the procurement of family planning and other women health commodities, noting that the distribution of free family planning commodities was a strategy to reducing maternal mortality.
He said that government had scaled up procurement of anti-retroviral drugs and malaria as well as activities for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The minister said, however, that Nigeria was still faced with challenges of high disease infection burden, poor birth registration, inadequacy of skilled care givers and harmful traditional care practices.