An international organisation known as Christian Aid Uk, Nigeria, said it has expended over N2.6 billion in the past two years for the treatment of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea for children under five years of age in rural communities across seven states in Nigeria.
The Country Director of Christian Aid UK, Nigeria, Mr. Charles Usie disclosed this during an experience sharing symposium on integrated community case management in Makurdi, the Benue state capital.
He stated that the aim of the programme was to bring health care delivery services closer to the people living at the hard -to- reach communities.
According to him, the organisation has already treated and saved the lives of over 110,000 children in four local government areas of Benue since the inception of the programme in the state.
The 75 years old organisation according to the director, is out to empower the poor and marginalised people to make informed decisions about their lives and engage meaningfully in their own development.
“Christian Aid UK, is out to give hope to the hopeless and correct the social imbalance in the health system that had existed between the poor and the rich hence the right to live practice meaningful lives like the rich. Health is the only sure way to eradicate poverty among rural communities. as a healthy nation is said to be a wealthy nation.
“As an organisation,we will continue to focused on the health of the poor, neglected and marginalised communities, particularly under five children and the vulnerable people to ensure government accountability and responsiveness on health related issues as well as encourage inclusion of women and marginalised groups, in decision-making processes,” Usie stated.
While commending Benue state government for providing an enabling environment for the organisation to thrive, the country director, appealed to the state government to identify health related gaps and other issues to enable development partners know the areas to intervene, disclosing that the organization has earmarked N100 million for people affected by flooding in the state .
In a welcome address, the state Commissioner for Health and Human services, Dr. Cecilia Ojabo, lamented that out of 1000 lives birth, 128 under five children lost their lives to preventable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Ojabo while commending Christian Aid UK, for bringing health care services to the door steps of the rural communities, said the training of resource persons for the programme within the communities would help to address cases of children who fall sick at odd hours.
“ Let me use this opportunity to call on the state government to get prepared to take over and sustain ownership of the programme which will be coming to an end by 2019”.
Responding, the deputy governor of the state, Engr. Benson Abounu decried high level of infant mortality rate in the state, especially among under five children and called for strong collaboration between the local government councils chairmen and the development partners to ensure the sustainability of the programme.