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Coalition raises concern over COVID-19 disruptions in family, child health services

A coalition of women professionals and faith-based associations under the PACFaH@Scale project, called Women In PAS, have expressed concern over the disruption of essential health…

A coalition of women professionals and faith-based associations under the PACFaH@Scale project, called Women In PAS, have expressed concern over the disruption of essential health services for women and children as a result of  the COVID-19 pandemic in  the country.

Briefing newsmen Monday in Abuja, the coalition said the disruption is causing serious impact on family and child health in the country.

National President of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, and the Project Director, MWAN-PAS, Dr Minnie Oseji, who spoke on behalf of the coalition cited routine immunization, access to family planning services and other essential services as suffering due to multiple challenges, thereby making women and children to suffer.

The coalition said primary health care centres all over the country were unable to provide full immunization services, and that women have been finding it harder to access family planning services.

The women group  added that  training scheduled by state governments for Community Health Extension Workers (Chews) on new treatment protocols for childhood killer diseases have also been put on hold due to the COVID-19.

The coalition also raised concern over poor reproductive health funding, saying it had led to failure of the country to record any meaningful change in family and child health because of poor funding and poor releases of the meagre funding allocated.

‘‘Since 2020 we have been asking, where is the 75% cut to the 2019 family planning budget which was reallocated in the 2021 budget and why has it not been released? Why are these funds still stuck in the Service Wide Vote?

“Should the Service Wide Vote not serve the needs of the women of the nation? Since the Nigeria National Strategic Plan II prioritizes reproductive health as a primary and strategic component of essential health services, is it not essential and strategic to fund the family planning needs of the women of Nigeria?,” the coalition asked.