World Bank to help boost maternal and child health in Nigeria

27 Apr 15

Nigeria is set to receive a $500m credit from the World Bank to improve maternal, child and nutrition health services.

The new finance will support the country’s Saving One Million Lives (SOML) initiative, first launched in 2012 by the Federal Ministry of Health, but which subsequently stalled.

SOML is expected to restart August this year and carry on until December 2019, with the Ministry of Finance providing the financial oversight role, the World Bank said. The initiative aims to save the lives of 900,000 women and children who die every year in the West African country mainly from preventable illnesses.

It has five objectives: to increase reproductive, child and maternal health and nutrition interventions; improve the quality of these services; strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems and data measurement tools; encourage private sector innovation; and increase transparency in management and budgeting for Primary Health Care (PHC).

Benjamin Loevinsohn, a lead health specialist and task team leader for the new project, said: ‘Saving One Million Lives is a bold response from the Nigerian government to improve the health of the country’s mothers and children so they can survive illness and thrive.

‘This, in turn, will also contribute to the social and economic development of Africa’s largest economy.’

In support of Nigeria’s SOML initiative, the bank said it would use its Program-for-Results instrument to push for more focus on results.

It said PforR will only pay out to the federal and state government for ‘independently verified improvements’ in key services like vaccination coverage among young children, skilled birth attendance and HIV counselling and testing among women attending antenatal care.

Additionally, the bank will provide federal and state governments with incentive payments to better tackle governance and management issues in the health sector.

‘This welcome new Program for Results operation for health will … strengthen Nigeria’s own health system and development footing while also providing an important mechanism for bringing both government and development partners together around a commitment to achieve specific, tangible results,’ said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, the bank’s country director for Nigeria.

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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