Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has pledged to support White Ribbon Alliance, a non-governmental organization that seeks to promote citizens engagement for maternal, infant, and adolescent health.
The Acting President, who made the pledge at a ceremony in his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, exhibited his commitment by signing the pledge card of the organization.
The Management of White Ribbon Alliance was in the State House to pay a courtesy call on the Acting President and acquaint him with the activities of the organization.
Speaking to Correspondents at the end of the visit, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewale, who was part of the delegation, said the essence of White Ribbon was to cater for the health needs of the people compassionately.
“White Ribbon Alliance started in 1999 and the whole essence is to transfer patient care to the community, where it really belongs. It’s all about having a compassionate patients-centred and caring health system that will cater for the needs of the people,” he said.
The Health Minister said that through the White Ribbon approach, people would be able to express their health challenges as well as seek transparency in the handling of health activities.
He urged politicians to key into the programme, to gain support from the electorate.
“I have told many of our politicians, when you invest in health, they will vote for you,” he said.
Commenting on successes recorded so far, he said: “Well it’s a journey and the fact that the group just meet the Acting President, it’s a testimony that we are not there yet, but we want to be there. The fact that the Acting President has signed on, is a major achievement on its own.”
On her part, the Chairperson of White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, Dr Nanna Chidi-Emmanuel said the major challenge the organization faced was that of political will but with the commitment of Acting President Osinbajo, they now had it at the highest level.
Dr Chidi-Emmanuel added that the group will engage the beneficiaries of healthcare facilities the more, to enhance efficiency and sustainability.
She congratulated the Nigerian President for sustaining the gains of democracy by ensuring transparency in all its programmes and activities.
It would be recalled that in 2013, the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria took note of some cases of disrespect and abuse in health centres, and the group organized town hall meetings, where useful information was gathered from health workers and policy makers were tasked on how to address the problem.