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By NBF News
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The British Government, working in partnership with selected state governments, will double the coverage of a successful maternal and child health programme in Northern Nigeria over the next three years.

The British Government is committed to tackling the tragedy of women and children dying across the world from preventable problems, a statement from British High Commission has said.

'UK International Development Minister Mr Stephen O'Brien announced in Jigawa today new work which will double the coverage on an existing project to improve the health of two million women of child bearing age across four northern States. This follows the UK Department for International Development (DFID)'s approach of channelling more resources to the development projects which work best, demonstrating results and value for money.

'DFID support for routine immunisation in four states in Northern Nigeria has seen the number of children fully immunised double from less than 5% to nearly 10%. DFID in collaboration with other partners has helped raise the proportion of children vaccinated against polio from 14% to 38% in the four states. There has been a 98% case reduction in polio in the past year; falling from 389 polio cases to only 9 cases in the whole of Nigeria in 2010. Nearly one thousand women with maternal complications have been transferred to health facilities through an emergency safe motherhood transport scheme and more than ten thousand deliveries this year were attended by skilled birth attendants.

'DFID (with additional funding from the Norwegian government) is working with State agencies to improve maternal and child health services, and making these services more accountable by involving communities and neighbourhoods,' the statement said.

In announcing the new plans at the Jigawa State House, Minister O'Brien said:'I am proud to announce this expansion of the UK's support to maternal and child health in Northern Nigeria. I feel passionately about these issues. In this visit I'm seeing with my own eyes the scale of the challenge, but also the success of our support in saving lives. We must all continue to work together to bring on these encouraging results – and there is a lot more that needs to be done'