The Federal Government has on Wednesday, 2nd December, 2020, inaugurated the National Steering Committee of World Bank Supported Immunization Plus and Malaria Progress by Accelerating Coverage and Transforming Services Project (IMPACT) to fast track Government’s commitment to reducing under-five mortality in the Nigeria.
While inaugurating the Committee at the Federal Ministry of Health Headquarters in Abuja, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire explained that the IMPACT project is a joint commitment of Federal and some State Governments of Nigeria and the World Bank, to substantially reduce Under-5 mortality in the next five years, through high-impact, cost-effective interventions that aim to control malaria and strengthen routine immunization, maternal and child health service delivery systems. “It is premised on a structure to ensure harmonization, integration, coordination, accountability, value for money and transparency”, he said.
The Honourable Minister listed the tasks of the Committee to include the following:
a. Ensuring inter-governmental coordination and policy alignment for the project
b. Playing an overall oversight role for project planning, and management
c. Ensuring proper coordination and timely project implementation by Managers at various levels of government
d. Approving Project Implementation Manual and Work Plans.
e. Proactive Addressing of critical issues that could hinder project implementation
f. Meeting at least two times yearly to review implementation and coordination status, knowledge sharing and achievement of Project Development Objectives (PDOs) and related matters.
The Project Steering committee will be backstopped by the coordinating secretariat. And, members of the National Steering Committee of IMPACT, as follows: Hon. Minister of Health (Chairman), Hon. Minister of State for Health (Alternate Chairman), Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), National Coordinator, National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP), Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Director-General, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Director-General, Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Director, Department of Health Planning, Research and Statistics (as Secretary of the committee).
Others are: Director, Department of Public Health (DPH), Director, Department of Food & Drug Services (DFDS), Director, International Economic Relations Department (IERD), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, Hon. Commissioners, Participating State Ministries of Health, Hon. Commissioners of participating State Ministries of Finance, Executive Secretaries of participating State Primary Health Care Boards (SPHCBs), Representatives of Development Partners, and Representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
Dr. Ehanire who is the Chairman of the Committee noted that Nigeria is reputed for ranking low in Human Capital Development Index and child survival, with the highest Under-5 child mortality rate among lower-middle income countries, with 714, 000 deaths every year, being 26% of Under-5 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa and 13% globally.
He further explained that up to 87% of infant mortality in Nigeria is attributed to a combination of malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, measles, meningitis and pertussis with 30% of Under-5 mortality in the neonatal phase, mostly attributed to hypothermia and infection. The Honourable Minister added that about 37% prevalence of stunting also leaves children more susceptible to infections and diseases related to weak immune systems, perpetuating a vicious cycle, leading to increased risk of death.
According to Dr. Ehanire, “These main killers of children in Nigeria can fortunately be prevented or treated with low cost, easy-to-implement and efficacious interventions, which this funding is envisioned to support.” “To address this crisis, the Government of Nigeria has committed to improving its human capital development index by reducing Under-5 mortality by half, by 2030”, he said.
To ensure seamless project implementation and coordination, the Minister directed the secretariat to facilitate communication channels and work with the technical team (Project Management Team) co-chaired by NMEP and NPHCDA at Federal Level, SMEPs and SPHCBs at state level, to establish meeting platforms where synergy will be discussed, and will collate and harmonize inputs from implementing agencies for the attention and action of the Honourable Minister of Health and the National Steering Committee.
He also pointed out that the immediate task before the Committee is the approval of the PIM, which is a pre-requisite for final approval to commence the project. “The PIM must be approved by the 18th of December by the World Bank, failing which the project can be declared ineffective. For this reason, the PIM must be approved internally by 10th of December and forwarded to the World Bank. The Coordinating Secretariat is working with implementing technical teams to finalize the PIM. I expect the final version by Monday 7th December for onward transmission to the World Bank and I trust we shall work hard to meet that important milestone”, he said.
The inauguration, which was witnessed by the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora and the Permanent Secretary, Health, Mr. Abdullaziz Mashi Abdullahi also had in attendance, the World Bank Team and WHO Representatives as well as State Commissioners of Health who attended virtually and expressed good-will messages.
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media & P.R., Federal Ministry of Health.