By Oluwabunmi Fache
The Lagos State government has inaugurated the second phase of Mother, Infant and Child (M.I.C.H) program across wards in the state.
The scheme is to provide nutritional foods and supplements for over 1000 expectant mothers from their second trimester to delivery stage.
The intervention was first planned by the First Lady Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on July 28, 2020, at Igbogbo-Baiyeku Local Government Area and has been taken to 11 local government including Ikorodu, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Eti-Osa and others.
This plan is being supported by private and public agencies, such as Ministry of Agric, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Woman Affairs and others.
Speaking at the event last Wednesday at Agege Local Government, Special Adviser, Office of Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale said the second edition of M.I.C.H birthed through the commitment of the governor to reduce the death rate among mothers and children, even from the womb.
In addition, Adebowale who represented the First Lady, said the M.I.C.H would not only encourage antenatal visits at primary health care facilities but also encourage pregnant women that rely on herbal homes to attend the Primary Health Care Centers for pre-natal regularly, thus, reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.
“Guided by this lofty objectives, we have birthed the 2nd phase of Mother, Infant, and Child (M.I.C.H) pilot program, as a follow up to the initial pilot to assess 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.
“For clarity, the MICH program at full launch is targeted at 15,000 (Fifteen Thousand) participants over the course of the next three years, however, we are kicking off with this second pilot phase with 1,140 participants only comprising a research study with 20 pregnant women in each of our 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs,” she said.
Adebowale highlighted that the second phase tagged: ‘The Research Phase’ will include independent case studies and research involving 1,140 pregnant women with follow up and monitoring of diverse medical and social indices starting from December 1 till the next six months.
Continuing she said: “Our formidable team of medical and technical experts has come up with a research proposal which aims to provide informed recommendations for the use of the federal and state governments and international development agencies like the United Nations.
“To ensure this research phase is impactful, we will 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.”
Adebowale, however, strongly appealed to all husbands, partners, families, and support systems of the pregnant participants to ensure that the MICH Plus Food packs meant for the sole consumption of the target participants are not abused or misused.
According to her, the Lagos State government has thought ahead of the need to support struggling spouses of indigent pregnant participants, hence they have included indicators relating to the family engagement component of the MICH program as part of the research studies.
She assured that over the next few months, Lagosians will not only birth new healthy, virile babies and economically stable and civically responsible families but re-write the social inclusion narrative in local governance and global sustainable development.
Chairman of Orile Agege Local Government, Honourable Babatunde Johnson, who applauded the project, also promised to support it by keying into it to ensure that the death of pregnant women reduces.