From Ahmed Idris Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State Government in collaboration with National Society for Neonatal Medicine (NISONM), and UNICEF has trained over 1000 doctors and midwifery on essential newborn care with the course sought to improve the capacity of the community health extension workers and ensure newborn babies receive critical quality care at birth by a skilled pair of hands in a safe environment.
The training which took place in Birnin Kebbi was organised for three days.
Delivering his speech, the UNICEF Chief of Health, Sanjana Bhardwaj said the training was part of a series of newborn health related activities executed in Kebbi during the last week of June. He said, it preceded the annual conference of the NISOMN to be held from 28 to 29 June and it is another crucial step in reducing preventable newborn deaths in the state.
He said the commitment is critical as many babies born in Kebbi State do not survive their first month of life and many of them die on the day they are born.
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the Government of Nigeria in 2016/17, indicates that the rate of newborn deaths per 1000 births is 55 in the state. This is drastically higher than the national average of 37 deaths per 1000 births.
“More than 80 per cent of these deaths are due to prematurity, asphyxia, complications during birth or infections such as pneumonia and sepsis,” said Sanjana Bhardwaj, Chief of Health, UNICEF Nigeria.
“Simple, affordable solutions exist, but they are often not reaching the children and mothers who need them most, those living in the most disadvantaged areas and enduring the harshest conditions.”
Many of the newborn deaths can be prevented with access to well-trained midwives during antenatal and postnatal visits as well as delivery at a health facility, along with proven solutions like clean water, handwashing, disinfectants, breastfeeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact, proper cord care, and good nutrition.
“UNICEF is proud to partner with the Kebbi State Government and stands firmly with it and the key stakeholders to ensure all girls and boys in Kebbi have a fair chance from the beginning of their lives,” said Bhardwaj.
In her remarks, Dr Zainab Atiku Bagudu, wife of the Executive Governor of Kebbi State, who also launched the ‘Every Child ALIVE’ campaign to reaffirm the state’s commitment to end preventable newborn deaths and extend affordable, quality healthcare to every mother and child, commended the efforts of the UNICEF and other donor agencies for supporting Kebbi state in promoting healthcare derives delivery in the state.