For Africans to meet the M illennium Development Goals (MDGs) all stakeholders need to collaborate and close ranks in providing health care services, reducing hunger, poverty and working assiduously to remove all obstacles that may prevent the realisation of the objective, according to the Founder of the Nigerian-based Charity Organisation, Amen Health Care and Empowerment Foundation, Rita Aimiuwu Oguntoyinbo.
“It is a tough one because there are so many odds against the attainment of these objectives (MDG). As I said, if we leave everything to government and its agencies alone, then we may not get there. But if individuals chip in, if you take care of 20 people and I take care of 20 people we will be able to get there, ” Oguntoyinbo told PANA in response to a question on meeting the 2015 target year.
She is passionate about improving accessibility to health care services for women and children who are the most vulnerable to major diseases and those living in the rural areas with no access to medicines.
Having worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO), but not as a health worker, for more than two decades, Oguntoyinbo sees the setting up of the Founda tion in 2004 as a way of demonstrating her belief that the various national and r egional governments as well as international development agencies cannot do it a l one.
She said close to 600 people across Nigeria had been empowered through trainings . “Amen Foundation is also training people in skills acquisition, because we rea l ise that poverty and ill-health are siblings; they go together. When a man is po o r he is vulnerable. He cannot afford basic medicines if he is unable to seek hel p , if he is unable to afford cost of transportation to health centres, which is a limitation.”
In 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit in the United States, leaders from across the world came up with a development plan and a target year for achieving it. MDGs have as their major components the reduction of poverty, hunger, maternal and infant mortality to half in about eight years time.
Other aspects of the MDGs are Universal access to basic education for the children, women empowerment, promotion of the environment and building o f international partnership.