The Challenge Initiative and the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) participated in the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent, Health & Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) meeting convened by Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari. Buhari is the founder of the Future Assured NGO that is responsible for the coordination of RMNCAH+N activities at the national, state and local government authority (LGA) levels.
Held in Abuja on Oct. 9, 2017, the meeting also included the wife of the Vice President, wife of Senate President and the wives of 36 state governors. Also in attendance were the Minister for Health, Executive Secretaries of Primary Health Care Development Agencies (PHDAs) of the 36 states, international donor agencies and partners.
The meeting was designed to build a strong advocacy case to policymakers and key stakeholders to improve RMNCAH+N in Nigeria and establish the Governor’s Wives Advocacy Coalition (GWAC).
Nigeria’s Minister for Health (FMOH), Prof. Isaac Adewole, expressed the FMOH’s renewed commitment to support RMNCAH+N activities but described a worrisome situation regarding indicators for maternal mortality, infant mortality and unmet family planning need. He listed the six states (Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara, Yobe and Kebbi) with the worst maternal health indicators, adding that each state had received $1.5 million for the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) initiative which should be prioritized for RMNCAH+N. He asked the Governor’s wives to ensure that their husbands monitor the utilization of these funds.
First Lady Buhari led the call for action and declaration of commitment by all the governor’s wives and other key stakeholders present to advocate for RMNCAH+N activities. She also inducted all Governor’s wives as RMNCAH+N Champions and Chief Advocates.
Later, Nigeria’s Portfolio Director Moji Odeku welcomed the first lady and her team to the NURHI/Initiative exhibition booth and thanked her for supporting both, while showcasing their family planning materials designed for both Islamic and Christian audiences.