Focal persons and officers-in-charge of different health centres in Enugu State have lamented the inability of local government council chairmen in the state to pay their counterpart funds in the concluded first round of 2014 Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) in the state.
The health workers, however, lauded the support of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the state’s ministry of health in making the exercise a success. The health workers also gave kudos to partnering donor agencies, for their support and encouragement in the biannual exercise.
The health workers in different health centres in Enugu North, Nsukka, Uzo-Uwani and Igboeze North Local Government Areas of the state noted that the inability of the local government council chairmen to pay their counterpart funds denied them of motivation to execute the programme to the best of their abilities.
Despite the shortcoming, however, the MNCHW has recorded impressive turn out of pregnant mothers and children under the age of five years in different health centers across the 17 Local Government Areas of the state. UNICEF Assistant Representative, Mr. Charles Nzuki, said the global agency was pleased with MNCHW innovation recently endorsed by the National Council of Health, aimed at delivering, in an integrated manner, newborn and child interventions, twice annually.
Nzuki stated that UNICEF was delighted with the high level commitment shown by government at all levels in in the delivery of better health outcomes for children and women in Nigeria.
He noted that in the last three years, MNCHW have been a platform through which millions of children, mothers and pregnant women had received life-saving interventions for improvement of the health status of women and children in the country towards the achievement of health MDGs 4, 5 and 6.
According to Nzuki, “The overall goal of the MNCHW is pivoted on providing universal access to preventative and promotive care to women of child bearing age as well as every newborn baby and all children under- five during this one week period in health facilities and communities through outreach services.”
The UNIEF chief maintained that maternal and under-five mortality still remains the two principal indicators for assessment of the survival of women and children as captured in the MDGs focus.
“It is therefore very critical that all stakeholders under the leadership of the government to continually put more effort to address issues of child and maternal health,” Nzuki urged.