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Rotary International gifts Nigeria $2m to fight maternal mortality

Rotary International has allocated two million dollars to projects aimed at reducing child and maternal mortality in Nigeria over a three-year period.

The President of the international group, Mr Gordon McInally, disclosed this during a community health engagement at LEA Primary School, Kuchingoro, Abuja, on Saturday.

Maternal mortality refers to the death of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days after giving birth, a crucial indicator of the overall health and well-being of women.
McInally, who said that the funding, which included approximately one million dollars already committed, was aimed at raising awareness on child and maternal health, particularly in maternal and neonatal mortality.

He reiterated committed to make the world a better place for his two grandchildren in Scotland, as well as children in Nigeria and across the globe where rotary operates.
He said “this dedication involves improving healthcare systems, water and sanitation, education, and the environment.”

President Bola Tinubu receives Rotary International President, Gordon Mclnally at the State House in Abuja [Presidency]

He explained that the project, operational in six states of the federation, is a multifaceted initiative aimed at enhancing family well-being.
“It focuses on providing women with access to reproductive advice and contraception, while encouraging the involvement of men in decision-making processes.

“It also emphasises the importance of pregnant women taking good care of themselves during pregnancy and ensuring safe deliveries.
“Given that many women still give birth at home, where mortality rates are high, promoting safe deliveries in clinic environment is crucial in preventing unnecessary sufferings and loss of lives.

“There are numerous grants available for Nigeria. The Rotary Foundation, our charitable arm, operates by soliciting bids for grants.
“We consistently receive bids from Nigeria for various projects spanning our areas of focus, including education, healthcare, maternal and child care, water and sanitation, economic development—a vital aspect of Rotary’s work—and environmental initiatives.”

The Chairman of the National Polio Plus Committee for Nigeria, Mr Joshua Hassan revealed that Rotary allocated 21 million dollars to its core partners in the global polio eradication initiative, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

He explained that “we allocated 14 million dollars to WHO and seven million dollars to UNICEF.

“We provide support in the form of funds and grants for their operations, particularly in the procurement and transportation of vaccines and other logistics.

“We also support WHO in surveillance operations, as it is through surveillance that we identify cases of polio in communities.”

Hassan, also the End Polio Now Coordinator for West Africa, said that the purpose of the Rotary President’s visit is to brief him on Nigeria’s efforts in the fight against polio and provide evidence of progress.

The National Coordinator of Rotary Reproductive Maternal and Child Health Programme, Prof. Dolapo Owofadeju highlighted the organisation’s shift from focusing solely on polio eradication to addressing maternal and child mortality caused by complications.

He attributed the complications to postpartum hemorrhage, high blood pressure, sepsis, and adolescent pregnancy.

Owofadeju, also the Chairman, Federal Ministry of Health Safe Motherhood Technical Working Group, emphasised the need for capacity building for nurses and doctors.

He said ”our outreach visit to homes is to identify children with malaria and any other health issues. We advocate for deliveries in facilities with medical attention, as 70 per cent of maternal deaths in our country occur during deliveries.

“We stress the importance of health workers’ behaviour. Pregnant women should feel comfortable when they visit clinics. Pregnancy is not a disease; it’s a physiological condition. Therefore, women, even those under 13, should be counselled without being abused.

“Traditional birth attendants are encouraged to register pregnant women in healthcare facilities rather than conducting deliveries. This is why Rotary ensures that clinics have the necessary equipment for the programme.”

Earlier at the Primary Healthcare Clinic in Area 2, Abuja, approximately 10 children between the ages of zero and two years old received polio vaccination.

Rotary International had supported Nigeria on many projects, and this new project would run from 2023 to 2025.

NAN

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