SDGs: Tackling Infant And Maternal Deaths In Nigeria

November 29, 2020
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By IGHO OYOYO

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is best described as the number of death per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age, that the rate for a given region is the number of children dying under one year of age, divided by the number of live births during the year, multiplied by 1,000.

Also, it has been identified that some leading cause of infant death could be attributed to birth defects, prematurity of the baby, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, also maternal complications of pregnancy and respiratory distress syndrome.

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Research revealed that Nigeria currently has maternal mortality rate of 512 deaths per 100, 0000 live births, neonatal mortality of 39 per 1000 live births and under age 5 mortality rate of 132 per 1000 live births. This indeed is not enviable statistics and has caused great concerns and worries for the for the federal government.

This is the reason the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President decided to responded to the challenge by taking the initiative to construction a Mother and Child Centres and strategic partnerships across the country, with the aim of promoting the health of the mothers and children, reducing maternal and child mortality and improving the Nigeria’s health indices.

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Another significant step towards tackling the problems associated with infants, neonatal and maternal care was taken recently with the commissioning of a fully equipped, state of the art 100-Bed Mother and Child Care (MCC) hospital in Ifon Community, Ose Local Government Area of Lagos State.

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The Mother and Child Care, built and donated to the community by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, OSSAP-SDGs is a three-floor facility equipped with two operating theatres, recovery rooms, sterilisation room, delivery room, consultation rooms, private and general wards, scanning room, side laboratory rooms, reception area, lounge, nurses room and station, doctor call rooms, scrub room and a Board room.

It also boasts of ultra-modern equipment that will aid the prompt delivery of maternal and childcare services including patient monitors with EC02; Suction Machine Double Jar; Ultra-scan Machines; Oxygen Generating Machine; Vacuum Extractor Delivery Set; Anaesthetic Machine and Diathermy Machine.

It also has an Emergency Cart with a defibrillator; Baby Incubators; Phototherapy Lamps; Paediatric Ventilators; Multi-parameter monitors for mothers and babies; crash cart; Theatre Monitor; Defibrillators and Fetal Doppler.

Speaking during the commissioning of the facility, the State Governor Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu said the MCC is not only a standard healthcare facility, but one of the best equipped in Ondo State. Aside helping to improve maternal and child healthcare indices in the State, the Governor added that the facility will also provide jobs for the teeming youths of the State.

The Governor commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for his efforts towards the general actualization of SDGs in Nigeria and Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs for making the project possible.

Also while speaking during the commissioning of the facility, the paramount ruler of Ifon, Oba Adekoge Adeosi said the hospital is a dream come true and would put an end to the decade long struggle to access basic health care in the community.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Orelope-Adefulire said the facility is a strategic intervention is directly linked to the achievement of SDG-3 on ‘Quality Health and Well-being for all’ and other cross-cutting SDGs.

“Specifically, this Mother and Child Centres (MCC) aims to address the high prevalence of maternal and child mortalities in Nigeria in line with the mandate of OSSAP-SDGs to implement or support policies and programmes aimed at fast-tracking the achievement of the SDGs in Nigeria. An example of this is the 100-Bed Mother and Child Centre we are commissioning today – built and donated to the Ondo State Government by the OSSAP-SDGs,” she said.

The office of the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs has also demonstrated its commitment to ending maternal deaths in the country when it commissioned the 149- Bed Maternal and Child Center located in Alimosho area of Lagos in 2019.

The Mother and Child Care, located inside the Alimosho General Hospital and named after the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, is a three floor facility with two operating theatres, recovery rooms, sterilisation room, delivery room, consultation rooms, private and general wards, scanning room, side laboratory rooms, reception area, lounge, nurses’ room and station, doctor call rooms, scrub room and a board room.

The centre is also equipped with ultra-modern equipment that will aid the prompt delivery of maternal and child care services; this include: patient monitors with EC02, Suction machine double jar, ultra-scan machines, oxygen generating machine, vacuum extractor delivery set, anaesthetic machine and diathermy machine.

Other critical care equipment in the facility are emergency cart with defibrillator, baby incubators, photo therapy lamps, paediatric ventilators, multi-parameter monitors for mothers and babies, crash cart, theatre monitor, defibrillators and fetal Doppler. Thus, the MCC was equipped towards promoting the health of the mothers and children, reducing maternal and child mortality and improving the state’s health indices.

Hence, it was not a surprise when the First Lady described facility as strategic intervention between the Federal and Lagos State Governments in the nation’s health sector during the commissioning. Represented by her Senior Special Assistant on Administration Dr. (Mrs.) Hajo Sani, the president’s wife encouraged the women in Alimosho and its environ to put the landmark project to good use. Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the facility is another demonstration of the fact that the Federal Government is not paying lip service to the issue of quality health care delivery.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Akin Abayomi said the facility was another milestone in the state’s efforts towards improving the health indices of its citizenry as it will aid the attainment of overall goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage for the good of the people of the State and also reduce to the barest minimum the unacceptably high morbidities and mortalities among pregnant women and children, especially the under five children.

Speaking in the same vein, Princess Orelope- Adefulire said the ultra-modern facility was equipped to complement the existing Maternal and Child Centre as a secondary referral centre to the primary Health Care centres and private hospitals.

Since its commissioning the facility has been serving the people of Alimosho, the most populated local government in Lagos.
More MCCs / Interventions On The Way
Similar facilities are on the verge of being completed or commissioned in Kwara, Kano, Kaduna, Adamawa, Yobe, Benue, Abia and Kogi States. These are complemented by other 80-Bed Prototype Hospitals established in other states across the country.

In addition, OSSAP-SDGs has intervened in rehabilitation of Abubakar Imam Urology center, Katsina Road, Fagge LGA, Murtala Mohammed Hospital, Kofar Mata Kano Municipal LGA and Abdullahi Wase Hospital, Hospital Road, Nassarawa GRA, Nassarawa LGA in Kano. A new Mother & Child Hospital (MCC) has been constructed and equipped in Tofa General Hospital, Tofa, Tofa LGA, in Kano.

“We have been working. We are going to commission the hospitals in Kano and Adamwa soon. We have just finished the construction of Murtala Mohammed Hospital in Kano – it is the biggest hospital in West Africa – about 1,200 beds. We have also completed the construction of Wase hospital just like we have completed the Tofa Specialist Hospital,” Princess Orelope-Adefulire said during a recent chat with journalists.

She also said the hospitals are equipped with all the necessary equipment and solar power and ambulances with the aim of preventing maternal and child deaths. According to her, some of the hospitals, especially those in the rural areas will also have accommodation for doctors.

“You can not have maternal death in this hospital. We have the best of equipment and the tiniest babies survive in these hospitals, what kills the mother is eclampsia. We have intensive units attached to them. So, when you have your baby and you develop any complication, if you get to these Hospitals, you will survive. In the hospitals, we have the prenatal ward for the children, fully equipped.

“So, what we do is from gynecology, ante-natal, delivery, post-natal, pre-natal. So, we have helped reduce maternal mortality and infant death since we started, because if you have your birth here, no matter what the complication is, you will survive,” she said.

Leveraging On Partnership Aside this, OSSAP-SDGs had also in 2018 entered into partnership with Coca-Cola Nigeria and Medshare International to tackle the problem of infant and maternal mortality through a programme tagged the Safe Birth Initiative, SBI.

Under SBI, Coca Cola and its partners have been supplying live saving equipment and conducting training for biomedical engineers and technicians to ensure effective use and maintenance of the materials in some healthcare centres which have benefitted from the initiative since it started.

Alimosho General Hospital Lagos, the National Hospital, Abuja and the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Meta, Lagos and Owerri are among the hospitals that have benefitted from multi-million dollars medical equipment and consumables under the initiative so far. Princess Orelope-Adefulire said 80 per cent of infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria can be prevented with the support and commitment of all stakeholders and effective partnership like the SBI.

The SSAP-SDGs noted while speaking during the commissioning of the MCC in Ifon that the SDGs cannot be achieved with stand-alone programmes or projects. Hence, the states and local governments must carefully mainstream the goals into their policies and plans for sustainability.

She also revealed that OSSAP-SDGs in partnership with UNDP, is already strengthening support to the states in the area of SDG-based development planning.

“It is therefore imperative that the State Government owns these strategic interventions and ensure their sustainability for the benefit of our people. As we continue to work together to achieve the transformative promise to ‘Leave no one behind’, I would like to call on corporate organizations, philanthropists and Foundations to continue to partner the government for this type of initiatives as part of their Corporate Social Responsibilities.

“We will continue to prioritize programmes and interventions with potential large-scale impact for achieving the SDGs in Nigeria,” she said.

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