BY DOYIN OJOSIPE
The Federal Government has been advised to as a matter of urgency ascent to the appropriation bill as any further delay could spell doom for the country’s health indices.
Speaking at a Stakeholders meeting in Abuja, the Coalition for Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Accountability Mechanism (C4MAM) said Continuous delay would stall supply of immunisation vaccines, which in turn will affect survival of infants negatively.
It also noted that delay in supply of commodity for family planning could contribute to increased maternal deaths adding that others are delay in supply of consumables to be used in Primary healthcare care facilities and consumables at the tertiary care institutions while capital projects to be executed by appropriate bodies will keep being on hold.
“If money is not released, therapeutic nutrition will not happen, in the north east, due to the insurgency, a lot of young children are so malnourished, in this years budget, some money for that purpose has been allocated and if not quickly released, the children might be affected permanently;
“Before you purchase vaccines for children, you have to pay money in advance …that little money that has been earmarked for that is better release on time,” said the Chairman of the Coalition, Dr Ejike Orji
Orji further explained that some of the children are within the 1000 window days of opportunity and further delay of their treatment could affect them for life.
The Coalition made up of over 40 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has also pleaded with the federal government to include the adolescents in budgetary allocation.
The group noted that a recent research carried out by the MacAuthur’s foundation revealed that adolescents make up 70 per cent of maternal deaths in the country.
It said, “Our coalition is about women, children and adolescents and these are the most vulnerable group in any country even in civil normal dispensation. You can see what’s happening in the northeast, majority of the IDPs are young people and girls and you can see all the abuses coming out of that.”
The Country Director, MamaYe also known as E4A, Dr Babatunde Segun said interventions for adolescents is a key to tackling maternal deaths as it is in the country’s best interest to educate youths on reproductive health and how to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
He said, “We as a nation need to recognise that adolescents are a vulnerable group so the government needs to ensure that it provides youth friendly services, where they can comfortable access without being stigmatised by some family planning providers, it is better to save an adolescent through educating them on use of FP commodity than to leave them to seek cover where they will be killed through abortion and some other dangerous means.”