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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Wellbeing Foundation Africa Creates Awareness on World Down Syndrome Day

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

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In recognition of the 7th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day on the 21st of March 2012, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), a leading pan-African maternal newborn and child health (MNCH) advocacy and empowerment organization, urges public and private healthcare providers to equip hospitals and clinics with amenities necessary to facilitate prenatal testing that will aid in the diagnosis of Down syndrome. This year will mark the first time World Down Syndrome Day will be officially observed by the United Nations.

All around the world, millions of individuals are fighting against the stigma and exclusion that comes with living with Down syndrome as many communities are not cognisant of the complexities of the disorder and are unaware of the vital contributions that those living with Down syndrome make to society. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, promulgators of change and awareness, recently sponsored members of the Nigerian Special Olympics swim team who won gold, silver and bronze medals at the World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

A genetic chromosomal disorder, Down syndrome affects approximately one in seven hundred live births with older women having a higher risk of giving birth to children with the disorder. Causing various physical and mental complications including flattened facial features, heart defects and learning disabilities, Down syndrome can be diagnosed prenatally during pregnancy using several different tests including ultrasounds, amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Unfortunately however, many health care providers in Nigeria and other countries in Africa lack the technical capacity and equipment to conduct diagnostics that will inform expectant mothers of their child’s health during pregnancy.

In addition to encouraging the success of those living with the congenital disorder, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has included an optional Down syndrome special growth chart, developed by the Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group, in its revolutionary WBFA Integrated Maternal Newborn and Child Health Personal Health Record (PHR)©. A simple yet effective tool that will help achieve United Nations Millennium Development Goals 3, 4 and 5, the PHR© provides pregnant women with a documented record of their medical conditions, every stage in their pregnancy, and the life of their child for the first 5 years. With this tool, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is working to ensure that all mothers receive a full continuum of care from well informed healthcare professionals. Given that children born with Down syndrome have special health needs such as heart and intestinal abnormalities, the Personal Health Records© with the Down syndrome special growth chart takes the developmental trajectory of these children into account. Currently, the Personal Health Records© has empowered over 200,000 mothers in Nigeria with the Foundation committed to reaching a total of 5.3 million women by 2015.

On World Down Syndrome Day, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa not only calls for better equipped prenatal testing facilities across the continent, but encourages all communities to learn more about Down syndrome and embrace those living with the disorder.

Wellbeing Foundation Africa Featured on Radio Continental in Live Interview to Discuss Maternal Mortality

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

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WBF Radio Continental Interview In honour of International Women’s Day, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa was invited to feature on Radio Continental’s ‘Woman’s Own’ talk show on Sunday, the 11th of March 2012 at 7pm in a live interview to discuss the topic of maternal mortality. As a leading Africa-focused NGO at the forefront of Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) advocacy on a global platform, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is dedicated to sustainably developing communities, building capacities, and empowering women across the continent. With the dispersion of tools such as the WBFAIMNCH Personal Health Record©, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has improved the lives of women by providing them with a documented record of their medical conditions, every stage in their pregnancy, and the life of their child for the first 5 years. This serves to reduce the maternal mortality rate as it gives women the opportunity to receive prompt, targeted, live-saving care from accurately informed health professionals. Through sustained and accelerated action, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is also committed to achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals 3, 4,and 5 which focus on promoting gender equality and women empowerment, reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health through numerous grassroots initiatives which partner community groups with the private sector. Radio Continental’s ‘Woman’s Own,’ a program that steadfastly uplifts women, is commended for its efforts in choosing to focus on the critical issue of maternal mortality which accounts for the loss of approximately one million lives in Nigeria annually. Through interviews with organizations such as the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Radio Continental is touching lives by harnessing much needed media engagement and participation in Maternal Newborn and Child Health. Representing the Wellbeing Foundation in Sunday’s live interview was Dr. Alero Ann Roberts (BSc MBBS MPH FMCPH), renowned paediatric and community health specialist and member of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa Advisory Board. In the accompanying interview recording, Dr. Roberts made the following key points on the topic of maternal mortality while discussing with Ms.FunmiFasunloye, the program presenter: 1. The Wellbeing Foundation strongly advocates for health service that women can trust will deliver for them. There needs to be universal access to effective, affordable health care that provides a continuum of care from the womb to the tomb – maternal, newborn, child, adolescent, adult and elderly. 2. The Wellbeing Foundation recognizes the need for strategic partnerships to deliver on the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Given that the government cannot do it alone, there needs to be engagement of civil society and private sector organizations in a systematic and sustainable manner, using innovative financing schemes to actualize pro-poor policies; transitioning them from paper to practice. 3. The Wellbeing Foundation knows the way and manner to engage women at the grassroots, giving women a voice and a platform to demand their health, education and welfare rights so that they can deliver for the nation and not die doing so. 4. The Wellbeing Foundation encourages all pregnant women and mothers of young children to insist on their Personal Health Record©, which empowers them to get effective health care, and makes the government accountable for resources deployed to maternal, newborn and child health at local, state and federal level. 5. Lastly, the Wellbeing Foundation calls for all like-minded people to join hands and make a stand against the needless deaths of mothers and their infants and demand the full implementation of all strategies designed to enhance the survival of Every Woman, Every Child. Kindly take time to listen to the accompanying recording and contribute to the discussion on reducing maternal mortality. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa applauses the efforts of ‘Woman’s Own’ in creating awareness of this important issue and encourages the media to play a role in prioritizing Maternal Newborn and Child Health. The Foundation welcomes ideas and the opportunity to partner together in this regard as media engagement is an essential component to addressing the challenges facing women and children in Nigeria daily.

 

Dr. Alero Roberts

Dr. Alero Roberts

Dr Roberts started her professional medical career in private practice in 1985, rising from medical officer to hospital administrator of a private hospital in Lagos. After completing her MPH in 2000, she returned to academic life joining the University of Lagos as a lecturer in the then Institute of Primary Health Care, which has since evolved into the Department of Community Health and Primary Care. She has trained medical, dental and post-basic nursing students in her specialty – maternal, newborn and child health and has been involved in the practice of community care in rural communities in Lagos and Ogun states. She has been involved at several times in the training of medical and healthcare workers at state and federal levels, conducting workshops and training seminars for Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and the Federal Ministry of Health.

She served a short stint as personal assistant to Prof Grange, one-time Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She is presently the technical consultant for Stronghold Support Services, a healthcare sector support and logistics company presently involved in the development of the personal health record book, a tool designed to improve health information management at point of care for pregnant women and children under five. She serves on several boards including the Wellbeing Foundation, a non-governmental organisation globally renowned for advocating for universal access to effective and affordable health care for mothers and children.
Her research interests include developmental delays and learning difficulties, home and community-based management of childhood illnesses and sustainable capacity-building of healthcare professionals.

 

Engaging MPs: Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Members of White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria Appeal to Senate and House of Reps to Improve Maternal and Child Health on International Women’s Day

Monday, March 12th, 2012

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On International Women’s Day, the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN) chairedby Her Excellency Mrs.ToyinSaraki, the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, spearheaded an advocacy initiative to receive concrete commitments from individual parliament members in a letter requesting the Nigerian Senate and members of the House of Representatives to make reducing maternal and infant mortality a priority within government.

In an effort to instigate political action regarding improvements in Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) in Nigeria, members of WRAN—a national constituent of a global organization working in over 150 countries to advocate for the prevention of needless deaths in pregnancy and childbirth, paid visit to the National Assembly on the 8th of March 2012 to discuss issues regarding women and child health, and engage the Nigerian parliamentarians ahead of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly taking place in Kampala, Uganda at the end of the month. The WRAN member organizations represented at the visit included the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Save the Children, the Zamfara Wellwoman Initiative, and the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria. Also in attendance were WRAN supporters and Board members including Her Excellency Aisha Babangida Shinkafi, the wife of the former governor of Zamfara State and head of the Zamfara Wellwoman Initative, as well as Dr. Benjamin Anyene and Hadiza Aminu Dorayi.

Working in fulfillment of the Global White Ribbon Alliance’s ‘Action of the Month’ which calls for all alliance members to engage policy makers and local leaders to demonstrate the power of leaders and advocates collaborating to improve maternal health in celebration of International Women’s Day and in preparation for the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, WRAN has made strides on both the national and state level. According to WRAN’sInternational Women’s Day activity report facilitated by Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki and the WRAN National Coordinator, the chair of the Senate Committee of Health Senator Gyang Dalyop communicated that the president has earmarked 30 million USD for the eradication of polio this year while the government is actively trying to improve the National Health Insurance Scheme in order to save the lives of women and children during pregnancy and childbirth. Moreover, Senator Gyang added that over 15 billion naira has been set aside for MNCH from savings intended to be made from the recent fuel subsidy removal. The Senator then assured WRAN delegates that all oversights in the area of maternal health will be covered by the Health Committee and that there will be a reduction in Nigeria’s high maternal mortality rate by the year’s end.

At the WRAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) on the 24th of February 2012, Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki—the chair of the Board and the Founder of WBF Africa, urged WRAN members to work together in holding government and stakeholders accountable for the lives of women and children in Nigeria; and the meetings at the National Assembly were testament of Her Excellency’s commitment to mobilizing, taking action and reducing preventable deaths that can be avoided through technical and operational improvements in Nigeria’s healthcare system.

In the second National Assembly meeting of the day with the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House, HonourableTambuwal, commented that while poverty is the leading cause of deaths among women and children, the country has adopted domestic policies to address this and is currently working with NGOs and other organizations to this end; yet, integration is necessary to make MNCH efforts successful. Honourable Tambuwal also added that the House of Reps will constantly seek to make policies more effective and pledged that a Technical Working Group will be set up between WRAN and the House towards building partnership with the members of the House of Representatives.

At the State level, WRAN Board members also engaged state parliamentarians in a visit to the Chairman of the Enugu State House of Assembly Committee on Health, Dr. Emeka Ogbuabo. A recipient of the letter calling for MNCHparliamentarian action, Dr.Ogbuabo acknowledged the challenges in the Enugu State health sector and ensured that his committee will enact the Enugu State policy on free maternal and child into law.

The letters sent to the parliamentarians calling for action and commitment in addition to the meetings with the Senate and the House of Representatives on International Women’s Day is one of many steps to addressing negative national figures including the unfortunate statistic of approximately 800 out of every 100,000 women dying during live births in Nigeria. Therefore, the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria in conjunction with the Wellbeing Foundation under the leadership of Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki will continue to take action to address systematic healthcare failures, highlight inappropriate policies, and see to the adequate training of health-workers while advocating for the provision of universal access to quality public healthcare for pregnant women and children in Nigeria.

 

Signed: Lore Dada

Communications

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa

Wellbeing Foundation Africa President Elected Chair of White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria Board and Hosts Evening Reception after Annual General Meeting

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

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WBF Founder H.E Mrs. ToyinSaraki and Dr. Ado J G Muhammad NPHCDA

As a member organization of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa under the leadership of Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki, continues to show its dedication to maternal health and successful childbirth for women in Nigeria, and inevitably—worldwide.

The 23rd of February 2012 marked the first meeting of the newly elected Board of Directors of the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN); and in this meeting, the Founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa—Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki, was elected chair of the board. Her Excellency expressed excitement regarding the opportunity to work with leaders and organisations from around the country who are working towards the same goal of saving the lives of women and children in Nigeria, stating, “This is a journey I started over 20 years ago which led to the establishment of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.” To date, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has impacted the lives of over two hundred thousand women and children through the distribution of the WBFA IMNCH Personal Health Records© nationwide which will ensure efficient delivery, evaluation and monitoring of sustainable, effective public health strategies in maternal newborn and child health. (more…)

World AIDS Day: The Wellbeing Foundation Adopts the “Getting to Zero” Campaign Theme

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

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With more than 34 million people living with HIV and over 22 million of that number in Africa, the Wellbeing Foundation has adopted the global “Getting to Zero” mission of the World AIDS Campaign ahead of World AIDS Day today. With a direct and forthright theme, the campaign states that by 2015, the world should have, Zero AIDS Related Deaths, Zero New Infections and Zero Discrimination.

The Wellbeing Foundation runs The Positive Lifeline Initiative, a regular care and support program under which people living with HIV/AIDS receive medical and financial support, nutritional and vitamin supplements, including counseling and follow up. The Foundation also works at the front-lines, developing programs for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV, making the main focus of its HIV Programs preventive, rather than palliative.

WBF has noted that while unprecedented global attention and intervention efforts have slowed the rate of new HIV infections and made significant difference to the prevalence of the disease in some countries and regions, the total number of people living with HIV continues to rise.

The Wellbeing Foundation has therefore joined the global voice calling for Governments to do the right thing and live up to the financial pledges they have made, otherwise the “Getting to Zero” mission will not happen by 2015 and millions of people will continue to die.

“The 2010 Global AIDS Report by UNAIDS shows that treatment scale-up is beginning to deliver results, both in averting AIDS-related deaths (an estimated 2.5 million since 1995) and in halting  new infections (at their lowest levels since 1997). This is therefore the time for us to increase our efforts to achieve universal access to treatment and build momentum towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (Goal 6) with regards to HIV and AIDS.”

 

 


International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25th): Toyin Saraki Calls for Multi-Sector Involvement in Protecting Women

Friday, November 25th, 2011

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Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marked yearly on November 25, Founder of the Wellbeing Foundation and Trustee of the Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence (GFEDV), Mrs Toyin Saraki has said that the social and economic costs of violence against women are too enormous for any government to ignore. In a statement signed by her spokesman Mr. Yomi Owope, Saraki said that violence against women occurs across Africa, affecting millions of women in society, regardless of status, and that the socio-economic and psychological costs are unquantifiable.

“Many women are particularly at risk of abuse at home, school or work, especially in a society where there is a marked imbalance between men and women, and places where there are little or nopenalties against such behaviour.”

Mrs Saraki, who recently signed a Joint Accord against Domestic Violence in New York with other international campaigners for same during the UN General Assembly last September, also pointed to the psychosocial effects of domestic violence on the family unit especially on children as a major reason for strengthening laws which protect women against all forms of violence in Nigeria.

“We are well aware of the impact of domestic violence on children who grow up in such environments. They’re affected mentally, physically and often end up being violent themselves. It has also been proven that children who witness violence at home do not do well in school. This is indeed a global problem which is being addressed in some measure, but which needs the support and input of government, civil society and all women, regardless of race or class. People with influence in society and the private sector are not left out. Violence against our nation’s mothers and girls must stop and we all have a role to play. Furthermore, women should not be ashamed to talk about domestic violence especially if it is happening to them or someone they know,” Saraki said.

 

Editor’s Notes:

About The Wellbeing Foundation

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is dedicated to the establishment and entrenchment of best practice in MNCH, as well as the improvement of the health systems in Nigeria and across Africa. In Nigeria the Wellbeing Foundation was responsible for lobbying for the new Nigerian Midwifery Service Scheme and the implementation of personal health records across Nigeria. The Foundation’s major commitment is the implementation of personal health records across Africa which the Foundation believes could have the single biggest impact on reducing child and maternal mortality and will move Africa towards attaining Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 & 6.

 

About The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

In 1999, the UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime – with the abuser usually someone known to her.

Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. The date commemorates the brutal assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, in 1960 on orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

Governments, international organizations and NGOs are invited to organize activities on the day to raise public awareness of the problem. The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women also launches the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, which runs through to 10th December, Human Rights Day.

About GFEDV

Founded by Former UK Attorney General Baroness Scotland, The Global Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence is a non-profit organisation with the aim to eliminate domestic violence on a global scale working with other partners to become a leading resource in sharing knowledge to eliminate domestic violence.

Signed:

Yomi Owope

Every Woman Every Child Initiative Launches in Nigeria

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

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On Monday 18th July, The UN Foundation in partnership with the Wellbeing Foundation will host the launch of the Every Woman Every Child Private Sector Initiative in Nigeria.
The event aimed at the Private Sector will be held at The Southern Sun Hotel Ikoyi in Lagos, Nigeria by 11am and will be hosted by The Wellbeing Foundation and supported by The Tony Elumelu Foundation. The global Every Woman Every Child initiative, will invite Private Sector leaders in Nigeria to develop a unique Private Sector strategy to help Africa achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

My PHR Story

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

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Many of the people I have encountered over the years have wondered aloud why I turned my focus to maternal, newborn and child survival. I have had to wander down memory lane to find the most accurate answer.

While I was in hospital with my tiny daughter, praying for her survival and educating myself about how to care for premature babies, I had plenty of time for sober reflection and exploration; plenty of time to THINK. During that period, two events shaped my thoughts, my actions, and my future commitments.
A few days after my own delivery, another premature baby was born; not in that hospital, but as an emergency home birth to a family that lived right there in Obalende. That baby was rushed to the nearest hospital, which happened to be the one I was in and care was willingly provided. The parents were warned however that the care would come at a price—one which the family could not afford. With the help of my husband, I did what I could to assist, and the baby survived. At that time, the issues seemed simple: a small matter of financial sufficiency.
The second event took place a few weeks later when, thankfully, my baby had started to thrive. Another premature baby was born at the hospital but this time, to a very wealthy family. The hospital provided care again, willingly, and money was no object. However, this baby’s health did not improve and the doctors were dissatisfied with its growth. Of course everyone was praying. Finally one of the doctors approached me to ask: “Where did you buy the formula that we were using to feed your baby along with expressed breast milk? Because we think it will help the baby and so we have shown this family the formula, but they have scoured the city looking for it but cannot find any!”
I answered honestly, “I did not buy it. A medical connection abroad recommended it, prescribed it, and sent it to me by courier. I don’t think that one can buy it because the bottles were marked ‘For hospital use only’ but I can ask my contact.”
I had a box or two left over and gladly handed them over to the doctors to give to the baby that needed it.
Pondering on my experience with these two babies, I suddenly realized that knowledge, resources and networking had to go hand in hand to give fragile babies a decent chance of survival.
Mortality is no respecter of social status or wealth or any other man-made index. Universal access to medical advances, proper care in a well-equipped medical facility and ability to give an accurate health history are some of the most important factors in establishing a continuum of care to give women and children the best chance of life.
Humility is important as well. Too many of our medical facilities at home provide the most appropriate treatment out of necessity, and not necessarily the most appropriate treatment indicated! In order to save lives, we need the humility and wisdom to recognize when we cannot adequately treat a case. We must then initiate or request a prompt referral based on our knowledge of whom or what is best equipped for that case. Sometimes this referral may even be within the same medical facility—and I have witnessed this on countless occasions—but a fair degree of knowledge and humility is often required to initiate the process.
I apologize in advance to those who may be offended by my humbly offered opinions but this has been my personal experience, and it forms the bedrock of the work of the Wellbeing Foundation as well as my continued personal commitment to minimizing preventable mortality; particularly in trying to raise the standards of universal access to basic medical provision and lifesaving advances through the development of the Integrated Maternal Newborn and Child Health Personal Health Records.

Best wishes

Think + Do = Positive Development

www.thewellbeingfoundation.com/phr.php
www.wellbeingfoundationnig.org/programs-our-work/health/the-phr

ANENIH, Others praise WellBeing Founder at dinner of UN Boss

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

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Founder of The Wellbeing Foundation and Chair of the National Health Campaign, Mrs Toyin Saraki was on Monday night severally praised for her contribution to the improvement of the situation of women and children in the country,
The recognition which came from various speakers was capped with the vote of thanks by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Josephine Anenih who described Mrs Saraki has one of
the most passionate about the wellbeing of women and children especially as it concerned survival. She thanked Mrs Saraki for her constant reminder to the society on the need to ensure that women and children do not die unnecessarily.

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health is a Human Right!- Toyin Saraki

Friday, December 10th, 2010

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President of The WellBeing Foundation, Mrs Toyin Saraki has advocated for the need to begin to treat maternal, newborn and child health as basic human right.

In a statement to mark this year’s International Human Rights Day, Mrs Saraki – the National Champion, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health for the White Ribbon Alliance and Chair of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) Child Rights Committee – pointed out that: “One of the provisions of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is that ‘Every human being has the right to health, including healthcare.’ Unfortunately, this right to healthcare and maternal and children health care in particular, is not taken care of in our society”

Mrs Saraki stated further that currently, Nigeria bears the largest proportion of the world’s burden for maternal and child mortality. She noted that unless stakeholders quickly agreed on the need to tackle adequate health care delivery as a basic human right for which a woman, her pregnancy and child are entitled, it might soon assume ‘crisis dimensions’.

“Current statistics show that every year Nigeria loses between 54,000 and 59,000 women due to pregnancy and pregnancy-related causes. It is even scarier when you hear that a Nigerian woman dies from pregnancy or some complications related to pregnancy every ten minutes. With the wealth of resources that Nigeria possesses, this is unjustifiable. Data on the number of deaths of newborns, infants and under-fives is equally frightening.” Mrs Saraki said.

She called on all stakeholders including the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Health Insurance Scheme, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, relevant NGOs and global development partners in the country to work towards an effective health service delivery system, based on verifiable statistics and linked to a credible, sustainable health insurance scheme, which would deliver health care to women and children at their point of need and wherever they live. This will go a long way to improve the survival of women and children in Nigeria.

Adeniran Adedokun

Special Assistant (Media and Strategy) to Her Excellency.