By Asma’u Ahmad
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said that the Federal Government has embarked on the revitalisation of 10,000 Primary Health Care Centres across the country in its bid to expand access to healthcare services.
Professor Adewole made the remark in a message to the opening of the 48th Annual Conference of Paediatric Association of Nigeria, holding in Kaduna.
The conference has as its theme “Consolidating child health development in Nigeria through SDGs; Gains and Gaps of the MDGs.”
The minister, who was represented by Prof. Mohammed Khalid, said that the government would leverage on the paediatricians to tackle life threatening challenges affecting children across the country.
He noted that though there were significant improvements in the health indices especially as it affects children, Nigeria still needed to do more in providing succour to children displaced by crisis.
The minister stressed that “reduction in infant and under-five mortality rates from 91 to 75 and 191 to 89 deaths per 1000 live births respectively from 1990 to 2015 is commendable, though not taking us to the desired targets.”
He said, however, that it was “a favourable stepping-stone for accelerated progress towards achieving the SDGs.”
“The timing of this confab is auspicious as the current economic recession in our country may have implications on our match towards achievement of the SDGs, since economic resources are not only affected by our dwindling income but are also not guaranteed.”
Prof. Adewole, therefore, challenged the participants to come up with recommendations “that could be useful for the resettlement and medical rehabilitation of displaced children and their families.
“With your counsel, the government is ready to rise to the challenge of providing succour to the displaced families by improving healthcare services and providing educational facilities.”
Earlier, President of the Paediatrics Association, Dr. Ngozi Ibeziaku urged the federal government to provide free medical services to the most vulnerable under-five in the country.
She commended the contributions of members for their support to the various child survival interventions across the country.
Dr. Ibeziaku said the association would help in the holistic rehabilitation of Chibok girls and others displaced by various conflicts across the country.
The president announced Dr. Kanu Nkanginieme, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Port Harcourt as the winner of this year’s annual award of the association.