Since its inception, SFH has worked with partners to strengthen MNCH by delivering evidence-based, scalable programmes that affect women and children’s lives, and strengthen thought leadership and policy reforms across the MNCH spectrum. We have done this by improving MNCH coverage through creating demand for skilled care, increased attendance at ANC, supporting emergency transport systems, increasing availability of essential drugs, strengthening PMTCT services at the community level, introducing innovations in human resource for health through the Village Health Worker (VHW) programme and strengthening the evidence base for MNCH policy decisions at State and National levels.
Good health for women and children is beneficial as it leads to longer, more fulfilled lives – allowing the woman and the child the opportunity to attain meaningful development in life. It is also a basic human right. Since the 1990’s Nigeria has made efforts and recorded some progress at reducing maternal and child mortality. Nigeria’s Maternal Mortality Ratio dropped from 1,200 deaths in 1990 to 540 deaths in 2013 per 100,000 live births . Similarly, Under 5 Mortality Ratio dropped from 191 deaths in 1990 to 94 deaths in 2012 per 1,000 live births . Despite this progress, Nigeria still occupies the unenviable position as a leading contributor to the regional and global burden of women and children’s death.
In Nigeria, the current unmet need for family planning stands at 14% for all women and 16% for women of reproductive age 15 to 49 years . This high unmet need for family planning contributes to maternal death as women are exposed to pregnancies:
• too soon (early onset / adolescent pregnancy);
• too frequent (lack of spacing)
• too many (several children)
• too late (pregnancies in women of older age)
The above increases the risk of complications in pregnancy that could lead to a woman’s death.
Furthermore, child survival in Nigeria is threatened largely by nutritional deficiencies and illnesses, particularly malaria, diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections (ARI), and vaccine preventable diseases (VPD), which account for the majority of morbidity and mortality in childhood.
Society for Family Health (SFH) is dedicated to improving the health of mothers, pregnant women, and children under the age of five in Nigeria. It has consistently done this through its various programme interventions and utilises social marketing techniques to promote maternal and child health products. Programmes in MCH currently being implemented include: The Expanded Social Marketing Project in Nigeria (ESMPIN), Women’s Health Project, Rapid Access Expansion (RAcE 2015) Programme, and the MNCH Improvement Project (in Northeast Nigeria).