The Fountain of Joy and Comfort Foundation provides intervention in the form of building fully equipped Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) in rural areas to improve the access of indigent pregnant women and children to quality maternal and child health care services. The centres are subsequently handed over to the community and local government health authorities to provide appropriate staffing and running of the facility in line with acceptable standards.
The foundation also engages in the payment of insurance premiums for indigent pregnant women to offer them free access to quality antenatal services. Presently the foundation has constructed and fully equipped PHCs in Delta, Nasarawa and Imo state. The foundation looks to partner with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for technical assistance to enable it broaden its scope of intervention.
At The Fountain of Joy and Comfort Foundation, it is our vision that in the coming years, with the government’s effort and that of NGOs like ours, Nigeria would have achieved its target of the millennium development goals and reduced to the barest minimum, maternal and under-5 mortality rates.
Every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world.
Underneath the statistics lies the pain of human tragedy, for thousands of families who have lost their children. Even more devastating is the knowledge that, according to recent research, essential interventions reaching women and babies on time would have averted most of these deaths. Although analyses of recent trends show that the country is making progress in cutting down infant and under-five mortality rates, the pace still remains too slow.
Preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, measles and HIV/AIDS account for more than 70 per cent of the estimated one million under-five deaths in Nigeria. The deaths of newborn babies in Nigeria represent a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under-five. The majority of these occur within the first week of life, mainly due to complications during pregnancy and delivery reflecting the intimate link between newborn survival and the quality of maternal care. Main causes of neonatal deaths are birth asphyxia, severe infection including tetanus and premature birth.
Similarly, a woman’s chance of dying from pregnancy and childbirth in Nigeria is 1 in 13. Although many of these deaths are preventable, the coverage and quality of health care services in Nigeria continue to fail women and children. Presently, less than 20 per cent of health facilities offer emergency obstetric care and only 35 per cent of deliveries are attended by skilled birth attendants.
Under the auspices of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, the Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) strategy was put together to fast-track a programme designed to revitalise primary health care in every local government and considerably extend coverage of key maternal and child health interventions, thereby reducing maternal, newborn and under-five mortality in line with the 4th and 5th Millennium Development Goals targets.