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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
English bishops visit CAFOD projects in Nigeria
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¬†Bishop Kieran Conry from the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and Bishop Declan Lang from Clifton Diocese are setting out for Nigeria this week, with CAFOD director Chris Bain. They will be visiting the Archdioceses of Abuja and Jos and the Diocese of Minna, to see the long standing vital primary health care work of CAFOD's partners. CAFOD is soon to greatly increase its healthcare work in Northern Nigeria, thanks to an EU grant of £1.1 million pounds. Chris Bain said: "We will be in Nigeria at an important time. It is an election year and a year that marks the half way point of the UN Millennium goals (MDGs). "Every year, out of 1000 babies born, 77 die at birth, over 50 per cent of women in rural areas receive no antenatal care and an estimated five million adults are living with HIV/AIDS. These figures are a sharp reminder that there is still a long way to go in achieving the UN Millennium goals on health, which call for: reduced child deaths at birth, improved maternal health and to combat against HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases. "For over 10 years CAFOD has been supporting partners who have been at the forefront of providing basic health care services to rural vulnerable communities in the north of the country, who have poor or non-existent health services. "These services will now be bolstered by an EU grant of £1.1million, matching CAFOD's contribution. " There are 67 Primary healthcare clinics covering the three provinces, and CAFOD currently supports 21 of those clinics. The grant will mean that all 67 clinics will benefit from essential primary health care training. The money will be spent on continued support in training of primary healthcare workers, improving community involvement in health care issues, promoting HIV and Aids educational awareness programmes and developing the advocacy role of the Catholic Church. Bishop Kieran Conry said: "The Catholic Church is one of the major providers of health services in Nigeria's rural Northern dioceses. This new funding will benefit over 335 communities, reaching over half a million people who will receive better health care, which ultimately means that lives will be saved." Whilst in Nigeria, the delegation will also be cementing relationships with the Nigerian Catholic Church, by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Bishop Declan Lang said: "This is an important memorandum, as it will reinforce the Nigerian Catholic Church's partnership with CAFOD and it will further ensure that CAFOD's crucial work in the area of primary health will have the greatest impact on those with the greatest need, vulnerable people living in poverty. " Nigeria has the biggest population in Africa (140 million) with 1 in 6 Africans being Nigerian. Life expectancy is around 50 years. Around 50% of the population are Muslim, 40% Christian and 10% hold indigenous beliefs. The official language is English, but over 250 other languages are spoken.
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