NISONM, Saraki Vow to Check Infant Mortality in Nigeria

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Nnaike Uche

The Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine (NISONM) has said that it would continue to research and explore effective means of checking the current high rate of infant mortality in the country.

The association said a situation where Nigeria loses over 240,000 babies in their first month of life annually was no longer acceptable.

Addressing the 10th Annual and Scientific Conference of the association inIbadan, Oyo State recently, the President, NISONM, Prof. Chinyere Ezeaka, stated that the colossal waste of newborns was a major challenge to both government and stakeholders in the health sector.

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘imperatives in Neonatal survival in Nigeria: The current state’.

Ezeaka, disclosed that since inception, the body had committed technical skills, promoted quality newborn care and facilitated national and international collaborations to strengthen the implementation process of reducing neonatal morbidity and mortality inNigeria.

According to her, “these momentous strides are supported by our strategic objectives and operational plan which hinge on advocacy, capacity building, social mobilisation, dissemination of best practices approach, research, monitoring and evaluation.

She emphasised that NISONM’s vision was in line with the Nigerian Every Newborn Action Plan (NIENAP) “in which there is a Nigeria where there are no preventable newborn deaths or still births, where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth celebrated and women, babies, children survive and thrive to reach their full potential.”

In her keynote speech, wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, who is the founder and president of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, praised NISONM for its great work and leadership it has provided towards the improvement of care for mothers and newborns, especially at the time of birth.

“We were all, at one time, vulnerable newborns, soon after our birth, though, the circumstances surrounding our births may differ, the common thread that runs through all of us is the fact that a newborn signals the hope of a new life, desirous of the most effective care and protection possible”.

The conference attracted over 1,500 participants from different parts of the world, including professors Harrie Lafeber (Netherlands) Vinod Bhutani, (USA) and Dr. Anne Schaafsma,
(Netherlands), Dr. Hamish Graham (Australia), Dr. Ayede Ayede of Nigeria, as well as the former deputy Vice chancellor, University of Nigeria, Enugu-Campus, Prof. Bede Ibe.