L-R: Chairman, Ojokoro Local Council Development Area, Hameed Tijani; Representative of the Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Oluwakemi Oke; and Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga at the Flag-off Ceremony to signal the commencement of First Round 2018 Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Lagos recently

Martins Ifijeh

Wife of the governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has lent her support to the new Integrated, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) strategy adopted in Nigeria to tackle the maternal and child mortality challenge. Ambode expressed the support at a flag-off ceremony to signal commencement of the first round of the 2018 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) week in Lagos, recently. She noted that the strategy will improve demand for a wide range of high-impact and low-cost packages of protective, preventive and promotive health services.

“These includes routine immunisation; vitamin A supplementation; growth monitoring and promotion involving screening for malnutrition and appropriate counselling or referral; distribution of de-worming medicine and information, enlightenment and communication materials,” the wife of the governor said.

Ambode, who was represented by the wife of the Chief Medical Director of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Mrs. Oluwakemi Oke, said this year’s MNCH week will hold between July 16 and July 20.

She explained that during the week, routine immunisation; vitamin A supplementation; growth monitoring and promotion involving screening for malnutrition and other wide range of high-impact and low-cost packages of protective, preventive and promotive services will be provided to families in an integrated manner using existing routine structures of the primary health care platform during the week.

The governor’s wife added that women of child bearing age will be given tetanus toxoid during the week while they will also be counselled on key household practices like exclusive breastfeeding, hand-washing, oral rehydration therapy and home management of fever.

“Furthermore, ante-natal care and family planning service will also be provided to pregnant women who attend the primary health care clinics. They will in addition, receive long lasting insecticide nets as well as intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy,” Ambode explained.

She noted that maternal and child health has emerged as the most important issue that determines global and national wellbeing stressing that every individual, family and community is at some point intimately involved in pregnancy and success of child birth.

Ambode stated that issues of maternal and child mortality must be brought under total control in tune with the state government’s quest for the status of a megacity that is internally respected.

While urging residents especially caregivers to take children under five years to any of the primary health care centres or health posts nearest to them for high-impact and low-cost packages of protective, preventive and promotive services provided during the week, the wife of the governor urged mothers and caregivers to continue to avail themselves of theses health services even after the celebration of the week in order to reduce maternal child mortality in Lagos.

“It is my belief that this exercise will improve demand for range of services provided at the primary health centres on the part of caregivers while PHCs will scale up their efforts to accommodate the increased demand,” she said.
Earlier in his address, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga said the goal of the state government is to ensure no mother or child dies from preventable diseases. He stated that this goal can only be met if parents and caregivers cooperate with the government by ensuring that all pregnant women duly register in the state’s public hospitals for successful outcomes of pregnancy and childbirth.

“As a continuum parents and caregivers must cooperate with the government to ensure eligible children complete all routine immunisation schedules. Together, we must add value to the lives of our mother and children by ensuring the successful implementation of the MNCH week,” he said