US to expand $18m Saving Mothers, Giving Life initiative in Nigeria – Envoy

The US Consul General, John Bray, says the US will continue to support, encourage and expand its Saving Mothers, Giving Life initiative aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in Nigeria.
A statement by the information unit of the US Embassy on Monday in Abuja quoted Bray as saying this at the SMGL global team-building meeting in Calabar, Cross River State.
The meeting was organised by the Cross River State Government in partnership with United States Agency for International Development.
Bray said: “Health challenges in Nigeria are not always a result of limited access to facilities, but access to enough skilled professionals and quality services within those facilities.
“Saving Mothers, Giving Life Initiative is helping reduce both maternal and neonatal mortality.
“We will continue to support and encourage the Cross River Government in its efforts as we look to expanding the programme into other areas in Nigeria.”
According to Bray, the project is a US Government initiative for a period of five years at a cost of $18 million.
Bray said that SMGL was a public-private partnership aimed at addressing three primary delays associated with maternal and newborn health.
He said: “The delays are in seeking services, in reaching care and in receiving high-quality care at a health facility.
“A woman dying from pregnancy and childbirth related complications is a major challenge in Africa and reducing maternal mortality has become a global priority.”
The envoy said “the probability of a maternal death occurring is 1:13 in Nigeria”.
He said that the US had been working in partnership with host countries and non-governmental organisations to reduce and put an end to preventable maternal and newborn deaths globally.
He recalled that Nigeria in 2014 became the third country to adopt the initiative after successes were reported by the programme in Uganda and Zambia.
He said the initiative brought together national and regional partners and key stakeholders to share updates on the progress of activities in Uganda and Zambia and guide inputs on expansion in Nigeria.
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State; Bray; and the USAID acting Mission Director, Aler Grubbs, participated in the opening ceremony.

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