As part of its contributions to the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality in Nigeria, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has reiterated its commitment to public health education and awareness on issues of maternal and neonatal care.Director General of NOA,

Dr. Garba Abari stated this when he received the Country Director of JHPIEGO, Dr. Adetiloye Oniyire on a working visit in his office.Abari disclosed that NOA was partnering with JHPIEGO on the Quality of Care project which hopes to make quality health care readily accessible to pregnant women and mothers upon entry into public health facilities. The Agency, he said, would therefore sensitize Nigerians to understand their rights and health needs concerning maternal and child care as well as how to access this care, stressing that “Awareness is key”.

The NOA boss said the Agency is worried by data around maternal and child mortality in Nigeria which indicate 576 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, 69 infant deaths per 1,000 live births and 128 under-5 deaths per 1,000 live births. “These figures need to drastically and urgently reduce and public health education and awareness are very critical in this regard”, he said.Abari made a commitment to integrate the Quality of Care campaign with NOA’s existing annual health sensitization programmes, such as the meningitis awareness campaign, noting that NOA is well equipped to achieve the objectives of the project, in partnership with JHPIEGO, given the Agency’s national spread and expertise in both strategic and local communication. He said staff of the Agency in all 36 states of the federation and the FCT, as well as the 774 Local Governments Areas would serve as foot soldiers for this health campaign across the country.

Earlier, the Country Director of JHPIEGO, represented by the Deputy Country Director, Dr. Ugo Okoli, said the Quality of Care project is already being executed in 24 states of the federation, with the support of the Federal and State Ministries of Health, but requires the contribution of a communication versatile partner like NOA to achieve its objectives.She explained that “JHPIEGO is increasing access to and use of focused antenatal care, basic emergency obstetric and newborn care, focusing on indirect causes of maternal mortality and morbidity and increasing capacity of frontline health workers to provide essential obstetric and newborn care.

The task before us in the Quality of Care project is to ensure the learning of reproductive and maternal health by the wider Nigeria, down to the hinterlands, helping people to understand their health rights and needs in the area of maternal and child care, and NOA is the best partner to assist in executing this task”.JHPIEGO enjoys support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other partners.

Paul Odenyi

Assistant Director, Press

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