The World Health Organization, WHO; UNICEF; and Abia Governor’s wife, Mrs Priscilla Otti, have expressed worry over the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in Abia State.
They vowed to spare no effort in the bid to stem the tide.
Flagging off the Round 1 of 2023 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week at Ubakala Umuahia Health Centre, the Governor’s wife, said she would collaborate with other stakeholders to reduce the rate of death among pregnant women and babies in the state
“Maternal and child deaths have remained on the increase lately and the annoying thing is that these deaths are preventable if we all work together putting in our best.
“Mortality from any preventable cause must be considered a violation of the
individual’s basic human rights and must be stopped”, she added.
She explained that the concept of the bi-annul exercise stemmed from the need to boost coverage of impact interventions for mother and child survival.
The Abia First Lady who urged mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding, promised her total support for the efforts to promote maternal and child health.
She also appealed to mothers and caregivers to ensure children receive full doses of preventive tablets including vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets.
“Any activity that will help to bring down the unacceptably high rate of maternal mortality is very welcome activity and will receive the support of the Alex Otti’s Government”, she said
“I, therefore, call on all mothers and caregivers especially mothers whose children are above 12 months and those who have completed the immunization to avail themselves of this golden opportunity and visit the health facilities and outreach sites for these services to improve their children’s vitamin A status and general health.”
She called on all health care workers to re-examine and update their knowledge, practical skills and improve on interpersonal communication skills and attitude to work.
Mrs Otti further pleaded with “all fathers in our communities to reduce workload
in our health care givers by mobilizing and encouraging our mothers to visit the facilities for services needed rather than sit back in their houses and wait for the health workers to come to them”.
She solicited the cooperation of the media in sensitizing the people to embrace health care services.
The Governor’s wife commended “the fruitful partnership between Abia State and the Federal Government through its various organs especially the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, and the development partners – WHO, UNICEF, Society for Family Health, E-Heath, etc.”
Commending the development partners for their continued support, Mrs Otti assured that her husband’s administration would always endeavour to meet its own obligations in the partnership.
Representatives of UNICEF and WHO respectively, expressed concern over the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria, but promised continued interventions to bring down the rate.
In a remark, Gov. Alex Otti, assured that Abia State Government would “fully equip” 296 primary health centres scattered across the state in the days ahead.
The Governor who spoke through his Senior Special Adviser on Health, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, said this was to demonstrate his administration’s high premium on the health sector.
Otti said his administration would not hesitate to take the right actions to stop Abians from dying young.
He vowed that under his watch, preventable deaths especially maternal and infant mortality would be kept at bay.
The Governor also promised to prioritize the training of healthcare workers as part of efforts to reposition the health sector in the state.
He, however, urged health workers to reciprocate the gesture by showing commitment for the good of all, promising to also motivate them.
The exercise featured teachings on the gains of exclusive breastfeeding, family planning, immunisation, and use of mosquito-treated nets, among others.
The programme which was supported by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, WHO, attracted breastfeeding mothers and their babies from across Umuahia South Local Government Area.