BY PRUDENCE IJAH, ABUJA
The federal government has reinstated her resolve to strengthen the right policies that will improve maternal and child health care in Nigeria.
The Minister of state for Health Dr Ehanire Osagie who disclosed this at the Nigerian Research meeting on Maternal Newborn and Child health care in Abuja stressed the need for policymakers to have a properly defined problem statement and possible solution which can then be executed through research.
In his words, Dr Ehanire said “The value of research in pushing the frontiers of knowledge and generating new knowledge cannot be overemphasized. Due to cultural variation,the country may require varying strategies in delivering effective cost based results”
According to the minister, in order to shape policies on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH), the West Africa Moving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Evidence into Policy in West Africa (MEP),initiated projects in some states.
“We have projects in Oyo, Edo and Bauchi States,which is ‘Increasing women’s access to skilled care to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality; Scaling up care for perinatal depression for improved maternal and infant health’ and ‘Video edutainment to the doorstep: Impact on maternal and child outcomes”.
Dr Ehanire disclosed that Moving Maternal, Newborn and Child Evidence into Policy in West Africa (MEP)’ initiative was unveiled to the National MNCH Programme Managers of the 15 ECOWAS countries at the first WAHO forum on documenting best health practices.
“The objective of the project is to improve the demand for generation and utilisation of research results for decisions making in maternal, newborn and child health programmes and policies in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, with financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada”.
The WAHO director, Professor Stanley Okolo said the objective of the group is to promote research on the major health issues in the region and to facilitate actions aimed at mitigating them.
“The promotion of research is a priority in our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, and since assuming office in March as the new Director General, I have reiterated the critical role of research as a tool for achieving population impact in our thematic areas of focus”
“We will facilitate and enable a platform for researchers and decision makers alike to work together to achieve research funding, enhancement of research capacity, and dissemination of research findings and support for the use of evidence policy”.
While fielding questiins from newsmen, The Director Family Health, in the federal ministry of Health, Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi said the inability of research evidence in policy making, is a critical challenge in middle income countries.
“The health system is weak, and the disease burden is quite enormous, especially those affecting maternal and childhealth. The forum has brought stakeholders together to foster collaborations,and improve synergy between researchers and decision makers”
She noted that the first ECOWAS forum in documenting health was held in 2015,
“In the meeting,15 ECOWAS countries were given orientation on the initiative of Moving Maternal Newborn and Child Health evidence into policy in West Africa”