Lagos targets 640,000 pregnant women in Maternal, Newborn Week

Dr. Olufemi Onanuga
Dr. Olufemi Onanuga

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Lagos State Government on Friday said it is targeting reaching 640,000 pregnant women in this year’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, MNCH Week which begins on Monday across the state.

The MNCH Week offers a veritable platform to simultaneously contribute to the reduction of child morbidity and mortality and improving maternal health indices. The week holds between 3 and 7 July, 2017.

At a news conference on Friday at the Lagos State Government Secretariat, Alausa, in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga said it was a known fact that maternal, peri-natal and child (under 5 year) health was one of the most important issues that determined national well-being.

He said when aggregated, this group (women of child bearing age and under-5 year old) represents over 42 percent of the state’s total population, apart from their constituting a vulnerable group, adding that every individual, family and community was, at some point, intimately involved in pregnancy and the success of childbirth and parenting.

“It is a rather sad fact that most of the maternal and child deaths and morbidity are avoidable if preventive measures are taken, and adequate care is available. Indeed, our quest as a State to attaining the status of a mega and smart city of note cannot be significantly realized until and when such indices are in tune with targets set for Attainment of Development Goal 3 is even surpassed.

“It is for this reason that I fully lend my voice and support to the Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Strategy adopted in Nigeria as a panacea to frontally tackle the twin issue of maternal and child morbidity and mortality. It is worthy of note that, the home-grown Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction Program(MCMR) launched in the year 2012 has the great potential of drastically cutting down on these unacceptable indices in the years following its full implementation,” he explained.

Onanuga said during the July round of implementation, a wide range of high-impact, low-cost, protective, preventive and promoting services would be provided to the whole family.

“These will include routine immunization; Vitamin A supplementation; growth monitoring and promotion, screening for malnutrition and appropriate counseling/management/referral; distribution of deworming medicine, and distribution of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials aimed at improving the health seeking behavior. In addition, tetanus toxoid will be given to women of child-bearing-age, who are also counseled on key household practices like exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding and basic hygiene. Antenatal care and family planning services will be provided. It is thus a week of action for maternal, newborn and child health survival through structures i.e. the Primary Health Care system,” he said.

The special adviser added that the 57 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas were expected to flag-off this programme as this would create the necessary awareness for enhanced mobilization of the target population to all the Primary Healthcare Centers, PHCs, throughout the State.

He called on all Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to ensure they were registered, and continue to refer patients early while being conversant with the danger signs in pregnancy and newborns, while imploring women to notify the authorities of any unregistered quacks and charlatans in their neighborhood

“I therefore wish to inform the good people of Lagos State, especially caregivers to take their under-five children to any of the Primary Healthcare Centres nearest to them for these mentioned services that will be given to them free of charge during the week. My advice to our mothers and caregivers is to continue to avail themselves of these preventive, promoting and protective health services even after the celebration of the week so that collectively, we will reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality,” he advised.

Onanuga also appealed to all community leaders to take full responsibility of ensuring that all the targeted groups were reached and effectively mobilized to the PHCs during this Week long celebration.