Government at all levels and stakeholders working in the health sector have been enjoined to strengthen implementation of the integrated Community Case Management of Childhood illnesses (iCCM) to tackle under-five deaths.
The Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) is a Rapid Access Expansion (RAcE) Project launched in Nigeria in 2013, aimed at reducing the number of deaths among children, through improved access to timely treatment of common childhood illnesses.
Head, Child Health Division, Dr Bose Adeniran made the call during a symposium organized by the Ministry of Health and Malaria Consortium and other partners in Abuja.
She said there was need to strengthen the implementation of iCCM in terms of policy scale up and use of domestic funding for better health for under -five.
Dr Adeniran said some key achievements of the project included, development of National Guidelines for iCCM implementation, scale up to Benue, Bauchi, Jigawa and Internally Displaced Persons camps in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
Dr Olusola Oresanya, Country Technical Coordinator, Malaria Consortium, said the iCCM programme was borne out of the need to provide access to healthcare for children, who are living in remote and hard to reach communities across the country, adding that it has helped reduce mortality due to diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia globally.
While saying that 1,400 lives have been saved from implementing the project for about three and half years in Nigeria, she said Malaria Consortium which is implementing the project in Niger state has scaled it from six to 21 local governments from funding received from Global Fund in 2016.
The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole who was represented by the Director, family health department, Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi said major causes of under-five mortality include malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea which together are responsible for approximately 34% of under-five deaths, and that malnutrition is associated with 53% of under-five deaths.
The minister said there was need to further strengthen the country’s health system in the areas of human resource for health, supply chain management, data management as well as funding to scale up coverage of evidence based interventions.
“The Human Resource for Health challenge is compounded by urban-rural mal-distribution in our country as well as the brain-drain of skilled health workers to the western world,” he said.