Princess Aderemi Adebowale

The Lagos State Government will on December 1, 2020 kick-off a research project with 1,140 indigent pregnant women under its Mother Infant and Child (MICH) programme.

The MICH programme, a brainchild of Office of Civic Engagement, has the aim of supporting the development of socially responsible citizens from the womb through infancy, childhood, youth and into adulthood, with the first phase of the programme held in July, 2020.

Speaking at the second phase of MICH programme on Thursday at the Bariga Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said the research programme was a follow up to the initial pilot with a view to assessing the impact of the MICH Food and supplements on the pregnant participants with full monitoring of their existing conditions, along with their unborn children throughout pregnancy till delivery and post-partum.

She said the MICH programme at full launch, is targeted at 15,000 participants over the course of the next three years, but said the government was kicking off with this second pilot phase with 1,140 participants comprising a research study with 20 pregnant women in each of our 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs.

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“This phase, tagged the Research Phase will include independent case studies and research involving 1140 pregnant women with follow up and monitoring of diverse medical and social indices starting from December 1st 2020 till the next six months.

“Our formidable team of medical and technical experts have come up with a research proposal which aims to provide informed recommendations for the use of the State Government, the Federal Government and international development agencies like the United Nations,” she explained.

Adebowale said to ensure this research phase was impactful, government would ensure that the participating pregnant women receive qualitative health care and follow-up through home visits by a dedicated team of public and State-approved private community health workers and medical consultants.

In addition, the special adviser explained that each of the beneficiaries would have access to a toll-free line with membership on a social media chat group that would be created in each local government area for direct feedback as part of the monitoring and evaluation process of the Office of Civic Engagement.

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She urged every beneficiary to cooperate with government’s team of medical experts, research team and care volunteers at every stage of the process.

“Also, I strongly appeal to all husbands, partners, families and support systems of the pregnant participants to ensure that the MICH Plus Food packs meant for sole consumption of our target participants are not abused or misused. Additionally, I encourage our participants’ spouses and families to continue to be responsible support systems to our pregnant women so that our dream of building the society through the unborn child and his family is realized maximally.

“We have thought ahead of the need to support struggling spouses of our indigent pregnant participants, hence we have included indicators relating to the family engagement component of the MICH programme as part of our research studies.

“I unequivocally assure everyone on this programme that the MICH research experience, over the next few months, will not only birth new healthy, virile babies and economically stable and civically responsible families but re-write the social inclusion narrative in our local governance and global sustainable development,” she stated.

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Adebowale emphasised the need for total cooperation of all LGA/LCDA Chairmen for the successful implementation of the research exercise since it would be domiciled at the Local Government Level.

She urged the Chairmen, and other political leaders in each local government, to work hands in glove with the medical officers of Health in their domains, especially in ensuring objective selection of participants according to the criteria.

The special adviser said the criteria for selection of the participants included: pregnant and underprivileged, EGA must be between 21-24 weeks, must be registered for ANC at the PHC within the LGA/LCDA, must possess a LASRRA card, must be resident in the LGA/LCDA, must be from low-income household and 75% of selection must be indigenous.