WHO Facilitates First Public-Private Partnership In Support Of IMCI Strategy In Nigeria

7th May 2004

The World Health Organisation in Nigeria has facilitated the first public-private partnership, between the Government and Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) in support of Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) in Nigeria. The partnership involves the provision of one hundred thousand British pounds grant by GSK International to Nigeria for a project titled, “Strengthening Communities to Improve Child Health” in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

The two-year project is to improve skills of first level health workers on management of major childhood illnesses in children less than five years of age; support existing mechanism to improve availability of basic equipment and drugs in first level facilities; strengthen health management information system including community based information system and promote key family and community practices that enhance child survival, growth and development; among others. WHO is to provide technical support along with Child watch, the Non Governmental Organisation of the Paediatric Association of Nigeria.

Minister of Health, Professor Eyitayo Lambo, officially launched the project at a ceremony held recently in Karu, where he reiterated the commitment of government to the implementation of IMCI as a child survival strategy. He informed the gathering that IMCI had been included in the project plans of the recently launched World Bank Assisted Health System Development Phase 2 for the states.

Dr. Mohammed Belhocine, WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, in the remarks read on his behalf, pledged the continued technical assistance of WHO to Nigeria on IMCI as part of the Organization’s efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal “to reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate among children under five” by 2015. He encouraged Government to take advantage of GSK’s intervention to draw similar support from other private organizations by optimizing the use of resources to be provided and showing evidence of project impact in Karu.

The sum of fifty thousand British pounds, which is the first installment of the grant, has already been released by GSK International and shall be managed by its local office in Nigeria. Dr. Lorinda Kroukamp, Director Community Health Project, from GSK International, South Africa expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far in the early phase of the project.

After the official launch, there was a four-hour orientation and sensitization meeting for the LGA officials and stakeholders in Karu. During the session, there were presentations and discussions, which focused on implementation of IMCI; GSK support for IMCI in Ethiopia, South Africa and Malawi; and evidence of IMCI effectiveness. The orientation was well received as it provided information to the community on the project and allowed the different groups to see how they can contribute to the success of the project and own it.

The IMCI Unit of the Federal Ministry of Health, GSK and WHO ended the launch with a field visit to Ado-Nkasa, one of the communities in Karu Local Government Area. This provided an opportunity for the visiting team to interact with the people and appreciate more, the problems of the underserved communities.

By this partnership, the Federal Ministry of Health’s efforts at tackling the challenge of mobilizing resources from the private sector for scaling up of IMCI is gaining momentum.

For more information, please contact Mr. Austine Oghide, NPO/HIP, WHO, 443, Herbert Macaulay Road, Yaba Lagos. Tel: (234) 1 5453661; 2903276-7; 7737092-3 Fax: (234) 1 5452179 E-mail:oghidea@who-nigeria.org