Nigeria’s  healthcare  is poised for a boost  after the Federal Government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and General Electrical (GE) Healthcare  signed a N3.5bn ($20m) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve  the sector.

The initiative is spread over   five years.

It   is expected to draw on the competencies, capabilities and know-how of the partners to bring funding, technology and expertise in training and education with a view to  developing unique solutions to  the country’s  primary healthcare infrastructure and helping build capacity for maternal and infant care.

Health Minister  Onyebuchi Chukwu, with whom were  Mr. Michael Harvey  of USAID and Farid Fezoula of GE Healthcare Africa,  told reporters in Abuja yesterday that  a  scheme- Healthymagination Mother and Child- will emerge from the partnership   specifically to tackle  maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria.

He said: ”While Nigeria still comprises a large share of the world’s burden of child and maternal morbidity, mortality in Nigeria has seen a 38% reduction to 78% deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012.

“These positive trends are indicative of the Nigerian government’s genuine commitment and sustained investment for maternal and newborn health, where notable progress has been made over the past few years.”

USAID Nigeria Mission Director, Michael Harvey, said the agency is committed to promoting and supporting stronger governance, finance and human development.

He also hinted that the initiative has the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of the population.

“The reality that we know today is unacceptable and heartbreaking as nearly 300,000 mothers and three million newborns continue to die every year from causes we know how to prevent,” he said.

President, GE Healthcare Africa, Farid Fezoua, said the challenges facing Nigeria and other countries in Africa are much more than   equipment. More crucial, according to him, are training and skills enhancement.

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