The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire says with the establishment of a multi-stakeholders’ partnership platform for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent and elderly plus nutrition (RMNCEAH+N) in the past one year, the programme-based technical working groups have been significantly restructured and repositioned for better performance.
Represented by the Director of family health, Dr. Salman Ibrahim, the Minister who stated this in Abuja during the 2021 session of the Multi-stakeholder partnership coordination platform mentioned the working groups to include the Child health technical working group, Reproductive Health & Family planning Working Groups, Adolescent Technical working group, Nutrition Partnership, Health Promotion Forum, and the Healthy Aging partnership.
He also said the past 12months led to kick-starting the process of refining policies, strategies, plans, and operational guidelines, more gender responsive towards improvement of the health and wellbeing of Children, women, adolescents and the elderly.
While reiterating government’s commitment to access to quality healthcare for all citizens, Dr. Ehanire also said Nigeria has in the past one year set out to establish a good metric system to measure progress, which has led to building a transparent Monitoring & Evaluation system in place.
“It is with great enthusiasm that I approach this gathering of stakeholders who share our mutual passion about the health and wellbeing of women, children, adolescents, and the elderly. I welcome you to this critical event which is set to review our performance in the last one year, since the Launch of the RMNCAEH+N MSCP, learn from our mistakes and retune our efforts for a better performance in the next year.
“I am glad to inform members that at the onset, a key deliverable that emanated from the core group was the development of an annual operational plan for RMNCAEH+N, which was launched in March this year, and form our basis for assessment today. The plan is not aimed to replace existing regular work plans, to address specific bottlenecks identified in the delivery of quality services to Women, children, adolescent and the elderly, including nutrition and health programmes.
“It is instructive for us to note that in this one-year space, the programme-based technical working groups have been significantly restructured and repositioned for better performance. These include the Child health technical working group, Reproductive Health & Family planning Working Groups, Adolescent Technical working group, Nutrition Partnership, Health Promotion Forum, and the Healthy Aging partnership. The tangible results which have just been presented.
“The past 12months led us to kick-start the process of refining our policies, strategies, plans, and operational guidelines, more gender responsive towards improvement of the health and wellbeing of Children, women, adolescents and the elderly.
“Permit me to mention the following policy instruments which are in different stages of being concluded, in the one year under review: The National Child Health Policy, the National Guideline for Basic Newborn Care, the Chlorhexidine scale up strategy, the Nigerian Every Newborn Action Plan, gender in Health Policy, adolescent Health Policy, sustenance of essential services guidelines, guidelines for engagement of PPMVs, the RMNCAEH + N Covid response plan is being finalized, harmonization of the CHIPS document is also at advanced stage of finalization, and several others.”
Also speaking, the Emir of Shonga, Dr Haliru Yahaya noted that the health needs of adolescents and the aged have not been looked after for a long time, stressing that Nigeria will hardly realise its demographic dividends if the adolescents are not harnessed and carried along.
Dr Haliru described the Multi-stakeholder platform as very important in helping to optimise all the variables, duplications and other issues that come up when work is done in silos.
“I think if you look at those who are involved in it, the mother and the children are the core of the issue health and health matrix. If a country is doing well you look maternal mortality, childhood mortality and you look at a few other things because if you look at these people by extension you will be looking at others.
“However, a hiatus has been discovered – the adolescents are falling between cheers – the adults run around get somethings done themselves, the adolescent is quite young experimenting and all sorts of things happen to him and attention is supposed to be given to him quite as a special group. They experiment with so many things. They are smoking, they are drinking, they are taking drugs, mental health in the adult starts at that age.
“So, that was a neglected group and it has now been captured and the group given special attention. And you can never develop or have your demographic dividends unless you invest in the youth. So this is quite very fascinating indeed.
“Now on the other end, people are falling off the chair and those are the elderly. Although our life-expectancy has not gone too far but we are beginning to have a crop of very elderly and we have not known how to handle them. With this, it will now fall within the next chair and with this, I am sure a lot will be done together.”
The World Health Representatives, Claudia Nevas spoke of access to health as a human right, and further observed that government alone cannot ensure provision of quality health access to all especially the vulnerable groups underscoring the importance of a common platform for effective coordination of stakeholders’ activities.