UNICEF calls for federal, states collaboration to address multiple  


By Emmanuel Oloniruha

Abuja, Nov. 2, 2023(NAN) The UN Children Fund (UNICEF) has called collaboration between the Federal and State Governments to address multiple health system challenges in Nigeria.

The UNICEF Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Mrs Rownak Khan, said this at the induction of the newly appointed Commissioners of Health in Nigeria themed “Navigating Health Leadership: From Promise to Impact” in Abuja.

Khan said that effective coordination at the federal and state levels was at the core of the kind of leadership required for Nigeria to effectively and sustainably address her multiple health system challenges.

She said that UNICEF believed that progress would remain elusive unless there was policy and implementation alignment between national and subnational entities.

Khan said that with a new government in place, it was the moment to reimagine the health sector for improved performance and outcomes.

“So far, the signals coming from the coordinating minister of health and social welfare and from various health commissioners indicate that the new dispensation brings with it a unique opportunity for innovation and efficiency in responding to the many challenges facing the health sector.

“We look forward to the concretization of government’s strategic direction in the health sector, especially the Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) proposed by the coordinating minister as a way of maximising the impact of development assistance to the country,’’ she said.

Khan pledged that UNICEF’s support to the federal and state ministries of health to further elaborate implement and track this and other policy initiatives.

“One of UNICEF’s foremost priorities is the strengthening of Primary Health Care. We recognize that a robust primary healthcare system is the bedrock of a nation’s health infrastructure.

“It is the gateway to improving maternal and child health outcomes, nutrition, and immunization coverage.

“We stand ready to provide technical expertise, capacity building, and resources to help the commissioners revitalize and fortify your primary healthcare facilities.

“We support the vision of Prof. Pate to ensure that healthcare services are accessible, affordable, and equitable, reaching even the most remote and underserved communities,’’ she said.

The Country Director, U.S Centre for Disease Control Nigeria (USCDC), Dr Mary Boyd, charged the commissioners to use their positions to create a positive and lasting impact on the health outcomes of the most vulnerable members of the society.


Boyd said that years ago, public health was struggling with widespread preventable illness and health disparities.

‘’I wish these were things of the past, but they’re not.

“Unfortunately, these persist in 21st century Nigeria, frankly in some parts of the US as well, and globally.

“But today you have been appointed agents of change in your ecosystem- your visionary leadership, sense of mission, political and persuasive competencies will be needed as you necessarily navigate the intersection of public health and clinical care to improve these health outcomes in your respective states,” she said.

Boyd pledged the centre’s continued partnership with the forum to improve the health and well-being of Nigeria’s communities through science, systems, policy, and public health action.


“I am optimistic that it is on your shoulders that together we will end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat in Nigeria, immunize 2.5million zero dose babies, and finally see appreciable decline in maternal and child mortality.

“I am optimistic that together we will put a dent malaria burden and begin to be more proficient in outbreak response as a standard practice,” Boyd said.(NAN)