In line with its commitment to save one million lives, the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) led by Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Muhammad Ali Pate and other private sector leaders has led its strategic partners towards an innovative mobile health intervention to mobilise about three million women and children to health facilities in high-burden states through the use of geo-location based on targeted mobile health messaging (text message) and voice in local languages.
The partners include SOML, VAS2NETS, GSMA, UNICEF, Access Bank, Stanbic IBTC, telecommunications companies, states among others.
The intervention, which is in its first phase, was implemented as part of the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Weeks (MNCHW) campaign, a biannual national mass campaign that seeks to mobilise women and children across the country to health facilities to access free primary health care services and life-saving commodities.
Dangote, a founding patron of the PHN said: “This is the largest mobile health demand creation intervention of its kind in the country and we are pleased that PHN is playing a catalytic role in convening private and public sector partners to serve millions of underserved women and children in Nigeria.”
According to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of PHN, Muntaqa Umar-sadiq the intervention is in line with the Private Sector Emergency Plan to save one million lives and to accelerate progress to meet health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline.
“We believe that leveraging mass campaigns such as MNCHWs, to address demand barriers through mobile technology can help us leap frog constraints and contribute to the saving one million lives movement.”
He said they had deliberately coordinated the demand and supply of their interventions such that they had increased social mobilisation to get women and children to nearby health facilities through geo-location based mobile text and voice messages (to targeted high-risk beneficiaries).
Umar-sadiq noted that the PHN had also worked closely with partners like VAS2NETS, UNICEF, GSMA and GAIN to ensure a commensurate increase on the supply aspect with an integrated bundle of free health services and life-saving commodities such as Vitamin A supplements, routine immunisations, deworming tablets, screening for malnutrition, long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets for malaria, ORS and Zinc for diarrhoea and others.
“When campaigns integrate the delivery of multiple interventions (e.g. Vitamin A, deworming, measles, bed nets, nutrition and vaccination), they are able to achieve larger mortality reductions by targeting the right mix of interventions to the largest groups of children mostly at risk of death,” he added.
“We are also mobilising private sector capabilities to support the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) campaign. For example, financial institutions such as Access Bank, StanbicIBTC and others have agreed to bring to bear their multi-faceted access points including text alerts, to create awareness through linked text alert messages targeting a relatively urban pool of high risk women and children,” Muhammad Ali Pate, co-chair of the PHN said.
The Special Assistant to the Minister of Health and Technical Lead of SOML, Kelechi Ohiri, stated that on the government side, the SOML initiative had made remarkable progress focusing on performance management and delivery across the leading causes of mortality.
To accelerate progress, the private sector, through the PHN, is a critical partner in enabling us meet our collective goals,” he said.
PHN, which recently announced a $24.2 million commitment towards a Private Sector Emergency Plan to SOML and a Health Impact Investment Fund to unlock the market potential of the health sector, seeks to build an unprecedented, world-class private sector-led coalition that focuses on advocacy, innovation, impact investments and public private partnerships to save one million lives.
It called on more private sector leaders to join the core group of private sector champions leading the movement to save one million lives of women and children in Nigeria.