Nigeria has made progress in some health indicators, but it continues to lag in reducing maternal mortality, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of all maternal deaths globally.
In a bid to strengthen the global strategies of reducing Reproductive, Maternal, New-born, Child, Adolescent Health (RMNCAH), the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) has set up the inaugural Nigerian Integrated Coalition for Improving RMNCAH (NICIR).
The coalition seeks to co-design a coherent country owned cross-sectoral intervention package that catalyses transformative, sustainable solutions to improve RMNCAH+N outcomes and strengthens private sector engagement for health within the broader Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, CEO, PHN revealed that Nigeria has had systemic challenges in translating global strategies and plans into local country-led action driven by limited coordination and alignment of programs/ fragmentation of local action; little consensus around multi-sectoral package of interventions to rally partners and limited funding – with no sustainable financing framework to achieve projected targets.
Muntaqa further pointed out that there are unrealized synergies in mobilizing domestic resources and private sector capabilities to contribute towards the achievement of the Nigeria’s health priorities.
“It is on this premise that there is the need to understand public and private sector initiatives towards achievement of the SDGs with the aim of developing a multi-sectoral package of interventions to catalyse transformative solutions to reducing maternal mortality; and systemically advance improvements across the healthcare system building blocks. The need for collaboration with cross-sectoral partners is critical to ensure no woman dies giving life,” Muntaqa explained.
However, Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) movement has reached consensus on targets, and seeks to strengthen country-led partnerships-driven approaches and innovative solutions for addressing challenges of poor maternal survival, in distinct contexts.
Lessons learned from global strategies indicate that the roles of multi-sectoral partnerships, particularly the private sector at country level, is a critical precursor to accelerating progress towards set objectives.
Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, Merck for Mothers, explained that while Nigeria has a thriving private sector with a growing economy, local businesses are interested and willing to be part of improving health outcomes but efforts are fragmented.
“The time is right to build momentum to strategically accelerate private sector participation for impact in Nigeria. Through this consultative process, the goal of developing a multi-sectoral package of interventions using the SDG framework that can be integrated into current stakeholders’ work and aligns with the national agenda has begun. Added to this is identifying key multi-sectoral stakeholders and their roles as champions to advance progress,” Etiebet said.
According to the stakeholders, this panel discussion created an avenue for shared learning’s and presentation of diverse, but unique perspectives for improving RMNCAH service delivery and outcomes in Nigeria.
Worthy of note is the inclusive problem-solving and idea formulation strengthens collaboration, which reflects the partnerships approach of the Nigeria Global Financing Facility (GFF) country platform formed to bring together national leadership, private sector, civil society and stakeholders in RMNCAH to help close the gap for RMNCAH+N.