Remarks by Ambassador James F. Entwistle Launch of the Healthymagination Mother and Child Initiative (March 3, 2016)

Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja | March 3, 2016

(as prepared for delivery)

Good evening. All protocols observed.

Your presence here is an acknowledgement of the importance of women and children’s health in Nigeria.

The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is honored to partner with General Electric (GE) and the Government of Nigeria to bring quality health services to millions of women and children in Nigeria. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to engage in effective and innovative alliances with the private sector to support Nigeria’s critical development needs.

Improvements in women and children’s health are critical for Nigeria to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  The U.S. Mission in Nigeria supports Nigeria to meet these goals.

Unfortunately, the state of primary health care in Nigeria paints a dismal picture for the future of many children.  The excessively high maternal, neonatal, and under-five death rates are reflections of inadequate availability and access to quality health services.

There are 40,000 maternal deaths per year in Nigeria.  Many pregnant women delay seeking care until potentially life-threatening conditions arise. No mother should die from preventable causes.  This partnership between the U.S. government, Nigerian government, and GE will identify at-risk pregnancies early and refer women to higher levels of care.

The U.S. government, through USAID, has partnered with Nigeria for many years to improve health outcomes and educate people about the importance of health to economic growth.  In this work, we support the direction of the Government of Nigeria and take after its lead in setting the priorities for developing health systems.

I applaud GE’s commitment to improving the quality of life in Nigeria.  GE’s work over the years in areas such as health, education, entrepreneurship development, and humanitarian assistance has demonstrated American ingenuity and GE’s dedication to places around the world that need their help.  I am proud to see that more members of the private sector, particularly U.S. companies, are profoundly addressing the needs of Nigerians.

We look forward to continuing this partnership with the GE and the Government of Nigeria.  Every dollar invested in health multiplies the benefits for productive activities. This partnership between the U.S. government, Nigerian government, and GE will save lives. Together, we can support Nigeria’s efforts to be a stable and prosperous country, built by healthy, strong people.

Thank you.