As part of efforts to improve maternal, child, and nutrition health services for women and children in the country, the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $500 million-International Development Association (IDA).
The aim of the new development financing is to help Nigeria achieve its “Saving One Million Lives (SOML) Initiative,” which was launched by the Federal Ministry of Health in October 2012 to save the lives of the more than 900,000 women and children who die every year from largely preventable causes.
World Bank Lead Health Specialist and Task Team Leader for the new project,Benjamin Loevinsohn said: “Saving One Million Lives is a bold response from the Nigerian government to improve the health of the country’s mothers and children so they can survive illness and thrive. This, in turn, will also contribute to the social and economic development of Africa’s largest economy.”
Nigeria accounts for 14 per cent of all annual maternal deaths worldwide, second only to India at 17 per cent. Similarly, it accounts for 13 per cent of all global deaths of children under the age of five years, again second only to India at 21 per cent.
Nigeria Country Director, World Bank, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly said: “This welcome new Program for Results operation for health will also strengthen Nigeria’s own health system and development footing while also providing an important mechanism for bringing both Government and development partners together around a commitment to achieve specific, tangible results.”
To address the challenge of its 900,000 maternal and child deaths, the SOML Initiative focuses on increasing the use of high-impact reproductive and child health and nutrition interventions; improving the quality of these services; strengthening monitoring and evaluation systems and measurement data; encouraging private sector innovation; and increasing transparency in management and budgeting for Primary Health Care (PHC) in the country.