The Director of Family Health in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Bridget Okoeguale, said this in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday in Abuja at the 47th National Council Meeting of the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, where Mr. Oladele Olaniyi succeeded Mrs. Lami Buba as President.
She said, “The Federal Government is also committed to reducing maternal mortality rate in the country.
“Last year, in order to reduce maternal mortality rate, the government proclaimed that reproductive health commodities and family planning commodities like condoms and implants to be free.
“So the government along with the partners made a forecast as to what we need in the country and contributed $3m in 2011 through a Memorandum of Understanding which we implemented. But on July 11 in London, there was a family planning summit organised by DFID and other partners to increase the commitment of governments all over the world to family planning.
“Nigeria came in a big way and Mr. President, through the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Pate, announced the government’s commitment to the world with an additional $8.3m reproductive health commodities.”
Okoeguale said although maternal mortality in Nigeria had reduced, but added that she “can’t tell of the reduction rate not until we do the National Demographic Health Survey next year”.
She added, “For now, our maternal mortality rate is 545 per 100,000 live births and you will agree with me that it is very high and nothing to be proud of. We have been collaborating with the UNFPA, DFID, USIS, USAID and other partners.
“We are appealing to states for support because health is on the concurrent list. The Federal Government has a plan and policy but we cannot force states to key in. We can only advocate for them; they make requests to us as regards what they need but it is for them to ensure that these commodities reach the grass roots.
“Some states do not have budget line for family planning because of other priorities. I don,t have the statistics but I do know that some states have not been able to create a budget line for family planning and we are calling on them to do.”
Buba called for support for Olaniyi, stressing the need for PPFN workers to work in unity.