The First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan on Friday inaugurated the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme Maternal and Child Health otherwise known as MAMA Project with a declaration that henceforth she should no longer be called Patience but “Mama Peace.”
According to her, the peace evangelism was what she would be preaching to bring an end to insurgency and terrorism including the menace of Boko Haram islamic sect in the country.
Speaking at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, venue of the event, she also stated that her non-governmental organisation, Women for Change Initiative, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with some international health agencies and hospitals to build, equip and manage the best hospital for women and children in Africa.
The SURE-P MCH is a direct intervention by the Federal Government using the savings from the fuel subsidy removal, to reduce the incidence of maternal and child mortality.
The First Lady said, “My name is no more Patience but now Mama Peace because I believe that without peace, there will be no more women, no more children and no more health sector. Without peace, the international community will be afraid to come and invest in our country.
“Peace is from the heart and not from the tongue or lips; not what you say but what is in you. We pray for genuine peace because peace is the key to our arriving at our desired destination as a nation.
“We are approaching the new year which is a year of peace, progress and so many good things to come. 2014 is going to be a year of no militancy and no Boko Haram because God will shower peace and make us take a U-turn from disaster.”
She also stated that her primary constituency is women and children, adding that it was her concern and interest in their well-being that made her go in search of help from international partners and agencies to establish the best women and children hospital in Africa.
“That was why I went in search of help; that is why soon I’m going to sign an MoU with some international hospital to build one of the best hospital here in Nigeria that will be the best in Africa. The hospital is almost completed and will soon be equipped and then our international partners will run it to provide the best healthcare to our women and children,” the President’s wife stated.
Speaking on the MAMA Project, she said the initiative was targeting 500 primary health care facilities and 125 General Hospitals in the country, describing it as an important milestone in the nation’s efforts to ensure maternal, newborn and child survival.
The First Lady added that, “As you are aware, complications related to pregnancy and child birth are among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in women of reproductive age in developing countries – Nigeria is no exception.
“Available statistics show that every minute, a woman dies of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. In Nigeria, experts say it is one in 15; which means that one out of every 15 women who give birth will die of pregnancy-related causes.
“The country has two per cent of the world’s population but accounts for 10 per cent of global maternal and under-five deaths. However, the good news is that, current figures from the National Bureau of Statistics indicate appreciable reduction in maternal mortality ratio from 545 per 100,000 live births to 350 per 100,000 live births.
“I am happy to learn that the SURE-P MCH will not only increase ante-natal care attendance by 52 per cent, but will also increase skilled birth attendance by 63 per cent and postnatal care by 63 per cent.
“I believe most of these deaths are preventable if women have access to adequate health care services and skilled care at the time of delivery.
“The launch of the SURE-P MCH project today provides that access, with provision of quality maternal, newborn and child health care.
“The benefits are enormous: Better infrastructure and increased human resources to encourage greater use of health care services.
“Upgrade of community dispensaries to Primary Health Care centers and greater involvement of more local health workers.
“Direct beneficiaries will be pregnant women and newborns, and conditional cash transfers of N5,000 to mothers who make four antenatal care visits, are delivered by skilled birth attendants and make immediate postnatal care visit.
“I have no doubt that effective implementation of this project will accelerate the country’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially targets 4; to reduce child mortality and 5; to improve maternal health.
“I will use this opportunity to call on our women, particularly the pregnant ones to take advantage of this project and utilise the antenatal care, as well as the delivery and postnatal care services being provided at the primary health centre nearest to them. These services are for your good and for the good of your children.”