The Federal Government, U.S. and General Electric (GE) have jointly launched a new mother-and-child health initiative to expand access to pre-natal screening to over two million expectant mothers in Nigeria by 2020.
GE is an American multinational conglomerate corporation.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said that the “Healthymagination Mother and Child Initiative” would help to reduce preventable mother and infant deaths.
Entwistle said that there were 40,000 maternal deaths per year in Nigeria, adding that many pregnant women delayed seeking care until potential life-threatening condition arose.
He said that no mother should die from preventable causes.
According to him, the tripartite partnership between Nigeria, U.S. and GE would identify at-risk pregnancies early and refer women to higher level of care.
The 20 million dollars endeavour, according to him, will also address maternal and child health challenges among health workers in Nigeria.
He said that the initiative would enhance training of midwives, nurses and other professionals in the use of portable ultrasound (Vscan Access) screening tool to determine at-risk pregnancies.
“The U.S. Government is committed to engaging in effective and innovative alliance with the private sector to support Nigeria’s criteria development needs.
“We are proud to collaborate with GE to bring quality health services to millions of women and children in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the initiative would target 1,300 midwives and prenatal primary healthcare givers with over 100,000 hours of training over the next three years in maternal and child health care.
He said that six states and the Federal Capital Territory were being targeted.
According to him, GE’s portable ultrasound Vscan Access launched at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 2015, is a system designed for front-line workers in low-resources settings to help improve maternal health.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health who presided over the ceremony, said that Nigeria was faced with high maternal mortality.
He said the Federal Government had put in place measures to reduce the preventable maternal and new born child death in Nigeria.
The occasion was graced by Dr. Ado Mohammed, Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the GE Chairman, Jeffrey Immelt.