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AT UN FORUM: MRS OBIANO CANVASSES SUSTAINABLE CHILD HEALTH, SURGICAL CARE


  

The Wife of the Governor of Anambra State and founder of the NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), Dr Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) has made a passionate plea for sustainable child health and surgical care. This she said can be possible through the commitment of government, partners and support of donors and NGOs as a precursor to achieving universal health coverage.




Mrs. Obiano canvassed this position as guest and Panel speaker at the High Level Dialogue in Global Surgery and Social Change on Child Health and Surgical Care held on 24th September 2019 at SmileTrain International Headquarters in Manhattan New York USA.
Pix 2 (L-R): President & Chief Executive Officer of SmileTrain, Ms. Susannah Schaefer, The Panel Moderator, CBS -2 Newsat5 and II Co-Anchor, Maurice Dubios, President and CEO of IntraHealth International, Mr. Pape Gaye, Wife of Governor of Anambra State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) at the High Level Dialogue in Global Surgery and Social Change on Child Health and Surgical Care held on 24th September 2019 at SmileTrain International Headquarters in Manhattan New York USA.

  
 Mrs Obiano, argued that universal health coverage is possible in spite of the challenges of global healthcare and barriers of access, funding and stereotypes especially in Africa and Nigeria. Universal health coverage is predicated on the availability of quality promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services at little cost.



According to Osodieme: “ To achieve universal coverage, all hands must be on deck, with support of donors, NGOs, CBOs who should hold the government and practitioners accountable to ensure the achievement of set goals. Furthermore, she explained that her experience as global partner of SmileTrain on Cleft lip and/or palate which is the most common congenital facial defects in Nigeria shows that you need to first build trust with the locals in hard-to-reach communities through advocacy and awareness campaign before you can get acceptance and the adoption of medical services on offer.”

 Pix 3 (L-R) The Panelist: President and CEO of IntraHealth International, Mr. Pape Gaye, Wife of Governor of Anambra State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme), and Dr. Gagan Gupta, a Maternal and Newborn Health Specialist MNH at UNICEF New York, at the High Level Dialogue in Global Surgery and Social Change on Child Health and Surgical Care held on 24th September 2019 at SmileTrain International Headquarters in Manhattan New York USA.
 Mrs Obiano observed that though challenges persist, Nigeria has shown appreciable commitment with its five-year plan under the National Surgical Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP) which, among other things, seeks to give up to 75% of Nigerians access to surgical care. She noted the National Health Act of 2014 and singled out the Basic Health Care Provision Fund which sets aside 1% of the Federal Government Consolidate Revenue provided for in 2018 Budget as a step in the right direction.


The wife of the Governor also highlighted the Anambra State example with the introduction of the highly subsidized Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme at the rate of N12, 500 or $35 USD per person per annum. The scheme, she noted, is helping improve access to health and surgical care. She stressed the commitment of her NGO to continuous advocacy for good healthcare and hygiene, and facilitation of corrective surgeries which has benefitted hundreds of children through the collaborative effort and support of SmileTrain International.


Cautioning on the need to avoid the gloom evident in statistics of global lack in health and surgical care, the President & CEO of IntraHealth International, Mr. Pape Gaye said that he would rather celebrate the successes achieved so far whilst recognizing that the statistics as the bone in the mix which should be brought home to people with a human story. He highlighted the impact of vaginal fistula in Mali where they work to provide the surgical needs of women. According to Gaye, to promote awareness and understanding we adopted a strategy of having a circumcised person telling his story to the people with practical example so as to galvanize others to action.

 Pix 4: Cross-section of participants at the High Level Dialogue in Global Surgery and Social Change on Child Health and Surgical Care held on 24th September 2019 at SmileTrain International Headquarters, Manhattan, New York USA.


On his part, Health Specialist Programme Division, UNICEF, New York, Dr. Gagan Gupta, said that the Indian experience and success story in reducing new born and child mortality rate came at multiple levels with strong government commitment and partner support. He emphasized the saying that ‘seeing is believing’ because once the designated programme managers at Indian New Born Care Unit were able to show proof of new approach and what can be done others easily adapted leading to positive results.




Apart from addressing the global trend alongside local perspectives, the panellists differed on whether allowing non experts to carry out the much needed surgeries in the absence of experts, Mrs Obiano said that it should be left for trained hands except in the case of skilled bone-setting practitioners who can help save lives in emergency situations. On the other hand, Gaye and Gupta agreed that there is a gradual shift towards allowing non-experts with basic training to carry out minor surgical care.


Earlier in her Opening Speech, President & Chief Executive Officer of SmileTrain, Ms. Susannah Schaefer, said that that the global dialogue was organized to draw attention to the challenges of lack of access to quality surgical and anaesthesia care. She hoped that the platform of engagement with experts and practitioners will galvanize action. 



Ms Schaefer agonized that the world may not achieve Universal health coverage with the alarming global statistics of 5billion especially in low income countries lacking access to essential surgical and anaesthesia care with 1.7billion of the total, children who are most affected.


She however assured that the SmileTrain will continue her work in promoting access to surgical care, to empowering global providers, surgeons, anaesthesia providers, nurses, paediatricians, community health workers and others to provide safe, high quality cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care.



The high level dialogue was moderated by popular CBS -2 Newsat5 and II Co-Anchor, Maurice Dubios. The panel include Mrs Obiano whose NGO CAFE, supports family and community health and has become a beacon of sustainable empowerment for women and the less privileged within Anambra state and beyond; is due to her advocacy and work in community health and empowerment. She has been recognized as an EU/UNICEF WASH Ambassador, and a 2014 United Nations Peace Ambassador.


Partners at the dialogue include the American Academy of Paediatrics, Harvard Program in Global Surgery and Social Change (Harvard PGSSC), Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery (GICS), The Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anaesthesia Care (the G4 Alliance), and NCD Child, otherwise Non Communicable Diseases coalition.


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