Edo Flags Off Neonatal Mortality Initiative, Trains Medical Personnel

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, has flagged off the ‘Helping Babies Survive’ training aimed at reducing the incidence of neonatal mortality in the state.

Mrs. Obaseki said that the state government is training health personnel in the state to equip them with specialised knowledge to tackle deaths of babies between one to 30 days old.

She said that the programme is being organised by the Edo State Government and the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA), in collaboration with the Edo First Lady’s ‘Make No Pikin Die for Edo’ initiative.

Declaring the programme open, the wife of the state governor said Nigeria is the second largest contributor to neonatal deaths after India.

She added: “This statistics and data have prompted me to commit to the fight against the scourge, starting from Edo State.

“The ANPA medical mission addressed indigent people in the state; those who can’t afford the care they deserve. The treatment is from world-class doctors from America and will cost millions of naira. The free medical mission is not for the politicians or rich people but for the poor as the value is unquantifiable.

“The focus is for the poor and we insisted it must be at the grassroots and three PHCs in Benin. The medical mission is a life changer for Edo people as the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has put in place machinery to make Edo the new medical tourism destination.”

Charging doctors, nurses and other health personnel at the training to put into practice all they learnt at the sessions, the first lady noted, “it’s expected that they use the skills they get from the training to impact positively and help tackle the issue of neonatal death in the state. This death is prevalent in rural areas and there is a need to put it under check.

“We are doing a lot to change our state and country, approaching it through healthcare. Aside from this, we also have a VVF center where we carry out free surgeries for affected people who cannot afford such care,” she said.

One of the facilitators of the training, Dr. Chinyere Ayaoyu, commended the state government for the programme, noting that ‘helping babies survive model’ is evidence based programme that when enacted properly, would reduce neonatal mortality rate by 50 per cent.

“Helping babies to breathe includes essential care for every baby. We decided to include this programme to the ANPA week and work aggressively to address the issue and train the trainers who will train others to positively impact and address neonatal mortality rate in the state. We have brought experts on board that will help us impact and drastically reduce the incidence,” Ayaoyu said.

On his part, the President of ANPA, Dr. Christopher Okunseri, said that “life starts from childhood as we can’t just focus on adults alone but also include children. This is part of our strategic process.”

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