Every day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five children and about 145 women of child bearing age making the country the second largest contributor of under-five and maternal mortality in the world. Contraceptive Prevalence Rate which measures the proportion of women of reproductive age who are practicing or whose sexual partner are practicing any form of contraception remains very low. This unfortunately has continued to worsen maternal mortality as studies have shown that providing women who want access to contraceptives will remarkably reduce maternal deaths and improve health outcomes.
The integratE project which is co-funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Merck for Mothers foundation is a four-year project being implemented by a consortium of partners led by Society for Family Health. The project whose goal is to improve the quality of Family planning services provided by Community pharmacists and Patent and Proprietary medicine vendors and create enabling environment for the sustainable delivery of these services will be implemented in Lagos and Kaduna States.
In other to ensure the project achieves its objectives, a steering committee made up of key stakeholders from regulators to the practitioners was inaugurated on Monday the 26th of February at Bon Stratton Hotel (Formerly Protea Hotel) Asokoro Abuja. The Steering committee which is chaired by the head of Family planning division, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Kayode Afolabi also had members including Pharmacist NAE Mohammed, Registrar Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, Pharm. Ahmed Yakassai, the President Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Dr. Moyo Adejumo, Director of Pharmaceutical Services Lagos State Ministry of Health, Pharm John Bulus Director of Pharmaceutical Services Kaduna State Ministry of Health and Human Services. Others include Dr Alkali Kelo, Chairman Association of Community Pharmacists, Prince Joel Odoh National Chairman of NAPPMED and Chief Kelvinson Okpara the chairman of LSMDA.The committee will provide strategic guidance to the project including oversight on broad strategic direction and in addition support the successful implementation of the project leveraging the wider resources, technical expertise and knowledge of members on PPMVs and Community Pharmacy practice in Nigeria
In accepting the nomination, the chairman of the Committee who also represented the Hon.Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole expressed delight at the opportunity to serve in the committee and promised to provide all the necessary support that will make the project succeed bearing in mind that the project will contribute towards the achievement of the FP 2020 target set by the country.
The managing Director Society for Family Health Sir Bright Ekweremadu who represented the heads of Consortium organizations thanked the committee members for accepting the offer to serve in the committee and charged them to ensure that the project succeeds as this will undoubtedly improve the health outcomes of especially the poor and the vulnerable. Also, present at this epoch making ceremony includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation portfolio manager for family planning in Nigeria Mrs Rodio Diallo and the Executive Director Merck for Mothers Foundation Dr Mary Ann Etiebet.