UN chief commends Nigeria’s investment in women’ and children’s health

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today commended the Nigerian Government for investing in women’s and children’s health, saying the United Nations would support efforts to make communities in the West African country healthier.

“Health systems that work for women and children are health systems that work for all,” Mr. Ban said when he visited the Maitama Hospital in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

“Unfortunately, around the world, health systems are not working for women and children. One thousand women die every day from complications from pregnancy and childbirth – the kinds of complications that can and should be dealt with in a hospital like this one. Twenty-two thousand children under five die every day too.

“This is truly unacceptable. Especially because most of these deaths can be easily prevented,” said Mr. Ban.

He said the UN had created the Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health in bid to improve global health, and that all Governments had endorsed it.

He commended the Nigerian authorities for integrating services for maternal, newborn and child health, with programmes on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and nutrition.

“You are strengthening Health Management Information Systems, and increasing the number of service providers, including community health workers and midwives. These efforts are bearing fruit. Let us build on them to build health and wealth throughout Nigeria, for all Nigerians,” said Mr. Ban.

The Secretary-General also met with Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and commended him and his staff for organizing credible presidential, legislative and gubernatorial elections.

Mr. Ban noted that national and international observers had declared the recent elections a significant improvement on past polls, noting, however, that some observers had raised concerns on a number of issues. He said he was confident that the INEC would look into those matters and address them promptly and transparently.

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