UN tasks FG on MDGs

By The Citizen

A UN Secretary-General (Special Envoy), Mr Ray Chambers, has advised the Federal Government to engage the private sector to achieve the MDGs four on the reduction of child mortality.

Chambers, who is also UN Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and for Malaria, gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday, when he visited the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu.

He said that the private sector support to the Ministry of Health, coupled with international partners, would significantly increase funding, to scale up efforts at achieving the MDGs.

Chambers said the private sector health alliance led by Aliko Dangote and some stakeholders, would help the health ministry gather more support from other private companies.

'Some of them have transportation that can get to the most remote villages.

'This potential, public private partnership will be unique to Africa in terms of the quest to reach goal number four by the end of 2015.

'As a result of work done by a number of people led by the minister, we do think that there will be significant additional funding coming from the World Bank, USAID, United Kingdom, UNICEF and the Government of Norway,' Chambers said.

He advised the private sector to get involved, in order to achieve the MDGs, adding that there was no time to change plans.

Chambers expressed optimism that Nigeria's leadership would take the country to achieve the MDGS.

He called on all member states to bring in ideas for the post-2015 MDGs, saying that the US had been working hard toward it, even though definite goals had not been defined.

Chambers said he was hopeful that in the next six months the post-2015 goals would be ready.

He advised that the ministry should evaluate its achievement and challenges quarterly, to be able to know what needed to be done.

Responding, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said the Public Private Partnership agenda had been applauded in Nigeria.

Chukwu identified nutrition as one area that the government was looking into, to improve the health of children.

He said government was ready to procure more mosquito nets, to prevent malaria, but blamed the manufacturers for their inability to produce enough for the country. NAN