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Women and children in Nigeria to benefit from CAD21 million Canadian grant

UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA to implement joint five-year program to support Government of Nigeria in reducing newborn and maternal mortality

Abuja, 7 April 2011 - CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency, has made a grant of CAD21 million available through UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF to assist the Government of Nigeria and its partners in systematically improving the lives of women and young children in Nigeria. Over the next five years (2011-2015), this grant will cover the costs of a Joint Program being conducted in 15 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

According to Dr.Suomi Sakai, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, ‘One of the key challenges for Nigeria is to strengthen essential primary health services so that all women and newborns may benefit from core, life-saving interventions. As partners, we are fully committed to support the Government of Nigeria to fine-tune primary health services and help communities adopt safe, essential practices to protect the lives of women and new born babies.’

Today is World Health Day, and the CIDA grant represents a significant boost to re-energize efforts to improve maternal and newborn health. Nigeria has showna positive trend in lowering mortality rates since targets were set at the Millennium Summit in 2000, but acceleration is needed for the country to meet the health-related millennium development goals, that is a reduction by two thirds in child mortality and by three quarters of the maternal mortality ratio.

Most child deaths occur during the first week of life and it is therefore crucial to invest time, money and efforts in services that adequately respond to the risks and challenges associated with this precarious phase of life. For women, it is essential to reduce the three delays linked with getting essential health care - a delay in deciding to seek medical attention, a delay in getting to a health facility, and finally, a delay in getting prompt and quality service at a health facility. The CIDA grant is an important contribution to overcome these barriers and bottlenecks in the provision of timely primary health care services for women and children; including safe motherhood services and emergency obstetric care.

Note to editors: The CIDA grant will be implemented as a Joint Program by WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF. The 15 states covered by the program are Sokoto, Kebbi and Kaduna in the North-West; Borno, Gombo, Adamawa and Bauchi in the North-East; Benue and the FCT in the North-Central; Lagos and Ogun in the South-West; Imo, Abia and Ebonyi in the South-East and Cross River and Akwa-Ibom in the South-South geo political zones.



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