November 20, 2008

UK announces £148m health programme for Nigeria

The United Kingdom has begun moves to boost healthcare services in Nigeria with a £148m initiative aimed at improving the financing of the sector in the country.

An officer of the UK’s Department for International Development, Chris Hindley, who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, said the health care plan was announced by the International Development Minister, Ivan Lewis, on Tuesday.

According to Lewis, the initiative will assist the Federal Government and selected states to build up the health system by identifying where the money should be spent.

He said that the initiative, known as Partnerships for Transforming Health Systems 2, would ensure that government provided health care and services rendered by non-governmental organisations.

The minister said, “The £148m will help ensure Better services across the country – not just in the cities - such as rural clinics to support pregnant mothers and provide immunisations to children.”

He added that it would assist government in planning and management by ‘ensuring it is spent where health needs are greatest.

According to him, it will focus on preventative health support to ensure people are better prepared to fight disease and illness.

“The scheme is expected to boost the use of health facilities by 25 per cent, reaching 30m people living across six states,” he said.

Under the scheme, Lewis added, £21m worth of drugs and equipment would be provided for 1,500 clinics and hospitals with a focus on maternal and child health.

He said, “With the programme’s money in partnership with other initiatives, the number of births where skilled birth attendants are present will rise from just a third to over a half, while full immunisation rates will rise from 18 to 60 per cent, to slash infant mortality.”

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