NIGERIA: GE Partners with USAID and Ministry of Health to Launch Antenatal Care Program for 2 Million Expectant Nigerian Mothers

March 2016 AllAfrica; The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of Nigeria (NPHCDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and GE today marked the launch of the new Healthymagination Mother & Child Initiative (HMCI), a collaboration that is expected to expand access to antenatal screenings with Vscan Access, to more than 2 million expectant mothers across Nigeria to reduce preventable maternal and infant mortality.

The program aims to empower midwives with basic obstetric scans; mobilize mothers to seek four or more antenatal care (ANC) visits and improve clinical decision-making and pregnancy management. Addressing the lack of adequate human resources for providing skilled care 1 in maternal and child health, HMCI will see the implementation of a comprehensive education program that will deliver over 100,000 hours of training over the next 3 years, supporting task-shifting for at least 1,300 midwives and antenatal primary health caregivers, initially focused on 6 states plus the Federal Capital Territory.

Dignitaries who witnessed the historic event include the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria  James Entwhistle, the Deputy Missions Director for USAID, Aler Grubbs  and GE Nigeria Chief Operating Officer Ahmad Zakari.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of State for Health , said, initiative is in line with Nigeria’s Vision 20:2020 and National Health Act 2014. He said the rehabilitation of the country’s more than 10,000 primary health care systems is a key priority for the Federal Ministry of Health and added that the new initiative with GE and USAID “is a major step forward in accelerating the development of maternal and infant care in Nigeria though the promotion of safe pregnancy, labor and post-natal care”.

On his part, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (MPHCDA) Dr. Ado Muhammad from NPHCDA said the NPHCDA was glad to be the implementer of the programme. He said more than 650 units of Vscan Access ultrasound diagnostic device will be deployed across primary healthcare clinics in the country. Over 2 million Nigerian mothers are expected to be reached in the short run.

USAID Nigeria Deputy Mission Director, Aler Grubbs stated, “In Nigeria, USAID’s focus is to promote and support stronger governance, financial and human development and to serve as partners in the creation and implementation of economic and civil strategies for the benefit of all Nigerians. This effort will further bolster the Government’s focus on expanding essential services in primary care.”

The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwhistle commended General Electric for putting the consortium together. He expressed delight at the innovative device and the fact that the public and private sector was coming together to partner in the interest of primary healthcare delivery in Nigeria


The Vscan Access, launched at the World Health Assembly in Geneva May 2015, is GE’s new ultrasound device designed for primary health care workers, including midwives, general practitioners, paramedics and clinical officers to assess pregnancy risks early and help expand the reach of quality care to mothers who need it most, providing imaging capabilities at the point-of-care with an immediate, non-invasive method to help visualize information about what is happening inside the body.  The portable Vscan Access can easily be taken from room to room to be used in many clinical, hospital or primary care settings.

With the Vscan Access Education Program, caregivers at primary health centers will be able to conduct exams that may result in the early detection of potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications; estimate gestational age and track fetal growth to help manage pregnancies; guide the critical “keep or refer” decision over the course of antenatal care; and wirelessly transfer data to patients, referral facilities or remote experts. 5

Embracing a continuous learning approach, the comprehensive training program for midwives and antenatal primary health caregivers will get underway in May, followed by ongoing mentoring and grading in the field by qualified trainers and clinicians. With the gradual ramp up of the program, expectant mothers will begin to receive the Vscan Access screenings in June at participating primary care clinics and general hospitals.

Approximately one million Nigerian mothers and children die every year from preventable diseases; 33,000 (1) women die from pregnancy-related issues and a further 946,000 children (2), of which 241,000 (3) are neonates. However, 70% (4) of these deaths can be prevented using existing health care packages.

*Trademark of General Electric Company


(1) Federal Republic of Nigeria. National Primary Healthcare Development Agency. The MDG-DRG Funded Midwives Service Scheme: Concepts, Process and Progress

(2) Ross, et al, 2013. A Low-Cost Ultrasound Program Leads to Increased Antenatal Clinic Visits and Attended Deliveries at a Health Care Clinic in Rural Uganda. PLOS ONE | 1 October 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 10 | e78450

(3) Kimberly, et al, 2010. Focused Maternal Ultrasound By Midwives in Rural Zambia. Ultrasound in Med. & Biol., Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 1267–1272, 2010

(4) Mbuyita S, Tillya R, Godfrey R, Janeen U, Mukherji K, et al. (2014) Uptake of Training on Vscan by Midlevel Providers Working in Rural Health Facilities in Tanzania: Implications for Reliability. J Biosafety Health Educ 2:123. doi: 10.4172/2332-0893.1000123

(5) GE Heatlhcare. Vscan AccessTM Ultrasound. Assessing risk. Expanding reach. © 2015 General Electric Company

About the Partners  

Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health:

The Federal Ministry of Health is the coordinating body of the Federal Government of Nigeria on issues of health.  It has the mandate to formulate, disseminate, promote, monitor and evaluate health policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Its mission is to develop and implement policies that strengthen the national health system for effective, efficient, accessible and affordable delivery of health services with other stakeholders.  

The ministry provides oversight for the three tiers of national health delivery system in general but has specific control over departments and agencies.

The ministry has eight main Departments and supervises ninety four bodies made up of key agencies such as the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the National Health Insurance  Scheme (NHIS), twenty Federal Teaching Hospitals, twenty three Federal Medical Centres, sixteen Specialist Hospitals/Centres (comprising three National Orthopaedic Hospitals, eight Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospitals, two National Obstetric Fistula Centres, two National Eye Centres and one National Ear Care Centre) fourteen Health Professional Regulatory Bodies, and seventeen Health Professional Training Institutions that produce middle level manpower and research institutions such as the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD). 

The ministry’s main department specializes in different aspects of health care. The Department of Family Health is concerned with creating awareness on reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health, ensuring sound nutrition including infant and young child feeding, and care for the elderly and adolescents. The Department of Public Health coordinates formulation, implementation and evaluation of public health policies and guidelines.  It undertakes health promotion, surveillance, prevention and control of diseases. The functions of the Department of Health Planning Research and Statistics include developing plans and budgets and monitoring their implementation, serving as secretariat to the National Council on Health, conducting research in collaboration with other departments and agencies, institutions and parastatals, conducting operational research and data collection, and performing various coordination functions.

The Department of Hospital Services supervises the 56 Federal Tertiary Hospitals/Centres. The department supervises oral health research, develops policies on nursing, coordinates training programmes for nurses and monitors the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). 

Under the vehicle of the National Council on Health, the ministry also leads States and Local Government Areas, the private sector and civil society in formulating health policies and programmes. For more information please visit


USAID is a U.S. Government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.  USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) works with investors, local financial institutions, and development organizations to design and deliver investment alternatives that unlock financing for entrepreneurs in the developing world.  For more information about USAID, visit

About GE:

GE (NYSE: GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry.

About GE Healthcare:

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world. GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter – great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients.


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