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By NBF News
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HOPE Worldwide Nigeria has said that the poor state of Nigeria's primary health care (PHC) centres may make her miss the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) if urgent steps were not taken now.

Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Clement Ola, at a media briefing in Lagos recently, condemned the low ratio of the numbers of social health workers at PHCs to the Nigerian populations of 0.02 per 100,000 to make meaningful difference in the nation's healthcare drive.

Ola added that because of the poor and inaccessible state of primary healthcare centres in the country, many pregnant women were patronising traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and faith healers, thus increasing the nation's maternal mortality rate (MMR).

Nigeria has the second highest rate of maternal deaths in the world after India. In Nigeria, one out of every 18 pregnant women would die before delivery. This ugly scenario has made the country solely responsible for 10 per cent of global maternal deaths.

He added that because of the presence of TBAs in maternal healthcare, Nigeria's state of Mother-To-Child-Transmission (MTCT) of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) has continued to escalate, making Nigeria only second to India as country with highest rate of MTCT in the world.

He said the nation's healthcare system has made the poor to suffer a 'double jeopardy' in the hands of disillusioned healthcare workers and insensitive government.

According to him, unless communities were involved in providing social amenities, the nation would never get it right in having efficient healthcare and educational systems.

Ola said such realisation made Hope Worldwide to partner with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-sponsored Assistance and Care for Children Orphaned and at Risk (ACCORD) four years ago.

He revealed that the project has benefited over 60,000 vulnerable children in areas bothering on psychosocial care, education and health.

ACCORD's main objective is to improve access to quality care for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) in Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Cross River, Ebonyi and Anambra states and to increase the adoption of safer sexual behaviours by 10,000 adults and youths and 2,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Kogi State.