Rotary Foundation has awarded ‘Together for Health Families in Nigeria’, an initiative of the Nigerian and German Rotary members as well as the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH), $2 million to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in the country. The project also has the support of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health.

According to Professor Emmanuel Adedolapo Lufadeju, National Coordinator and member of the Rotary Club of Ibadan-Jericho Metro, which spearheaded the programme, more than 1.5 million people will be provided with essential health services and awareness-raising campaigns meant to encourage families to seek clinical health care.

“Providing mothers and newborns with targeted healthcare, while also improving the systemic access to life-saving services will have an immediate and long-term impact on not just mothers but also the wider community. Applying our experiences and the lessons learned from our previous efforts in other target states will help facilitate smooth scaling up, replication and sustainability. We have made maternal death in Nigeria a notifiable condition. It is imperative for our future that we address this now,” Lufadeju said.

Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria’ is an initiative through which Rotary members show their commitment to improving maternal and infant health by building a longer-term, multi-stakeholder partnership with the federal and state ministries of health, the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, the Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine, The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, and the Paediatric Association of Nigeria.

Jan-Peter Sander, program lead in Germany and member of the Rotary Club of Deidesheim-Mittelhaardt, Germany said the health initiative will ensure both mothers and children are given the best possible chance during their most vulnerable period of their lives.

“Each pregnancy magnifies the mother’s health risks, especially when she doesn’t have access to proper care. This initiative is absolutely key in ensuring that every mother and child is given the best possible chance in what is the most vulnerable period of their lives,” Sander said.

The Rotary’s health initiative has been hailed as a positive development by the Federal Ministry of Health.

“The Government of Nigeria is committed to ensuring that all mothers and their newborns have access to the best care possible – before, during, and after birth. Rotary has played an integral role in improving maternal and child health outcomes, notably through our collaboration to improve nationwide data collection on maternal and perinatal health incidents – a process critical to saving more lives. We are pleased to continue partnering with Rotary members towards this cause, whose drive and passion are making a great difference in people’s lives in Nigeria and across the world,” Tinu Taylor, Director of Reproductive Health, Federal Ministry of Health, said.

“Through the power of preventative care, Rotary is committed to providing mothers and children everywhere with the same opportunities for a healthy future. From decades of collaboration and strong partnerships, ‘Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria’ will build upon past successes and lessons-learned to strengthen health systems, instill trust in health services, engage communities, and empower women to advocate for themselves and their families,” Jennifer Jones, Rotary International President, said.