By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Lagos State Government has announced the beginning of the second round of its 2021 Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MNCAH) Week.
The initiative was instituted to actualize the state government’s quest to reduce maternal, infant and child deaths.
The event is geared towards improving the health-seeking behaviour of all citizens.
According to a statement issued by the State’s Ministry of Health, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi announced that the MNCAH Week is scheduled to hold between Monday 6th and Friday 10th December, 2021.
It will take place in all the Primary Healthcare Centres and designated sites across the state including in 310 fixed posts, 376 temporary fixed posts and 752 mobile posts.
The MNCAH Week will be flagged off by Lagos State First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo, on Friday 3rd of December, 2021 at Ikorodu Town Hall.
Abayomi listed the interventions to be provided during the weeklong health intervention to include; provision of vitamin A supplementation and malnutrition screening for children between the ages of 6 months to 59 months, deworming of children between the ages of 12 to 59 months, birth registration as well as HIV and Tuberculosis screening.
Other interventions, according to him, are: counselling of caregivers on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), food demonstration classes for nursing mothers and caregivers, management of minor childhood illnesses such as malnutrition and malaria, family planning services for females and males, antenatal care, delivery, postnatal care and demonstration of hand washing techniques.
He said: “As part of the pre-implementation activities to enhance coordination and availability of essential supplies and program success, planning meetings have been held with officers from other line ministries including Information & Strategy, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Education, Agriculture, Youth & Social Development, Economic Planning & Budget, State Universal Basic Education Board, Civic Engagement, Local Government & Community Affairs, Civil Society Organization, Development Partners and Community Leaders”.
The Commissioner added that a series of training have also been held to ensure that the over 4000 health workers and implementers involved in the exercise carry out their duties in line with the global best practices and objectives of the campaign.
Abayomi noted that the MNCAH week is an important week established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other Development Partners to increase access to quality Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent healthcare services and improve the health-seeking behaviour of all citizens in the state.
“Customarily, it is implemented twice yearly and being the pioneering state, we have been consistent with this laudable initiative that has done nothing else but improve our health indices across the state especially with the under-five children and women.
“In addition to improving the health seeking behaviour of citizens, this program also promotes the reduction in the fragmentation of healthcare services especially at the primary level and improves the provision of healthcare services in an integrated manner which is more sustainable, efficient, impactful and cost-effective”, the commissioner explained.
He noted that maternal, infant and child deaths are largely preventable with improved health-seeking behaviours, access to timely healthcare, and provision of life-saving commodities which the weeklong MNCAH intervention seeks to achieve.
Abayomi added that the ministry of health has rolled out series of trainings on various maternal and child health interventions such as active management of the third stage of labour, essential newborn care, contraceptive logistics management system, integrated management of childhood illnesses to both public and private health providers in the state as part of the effort to develop the institutional capacity of the health care providers in the state.
He said that over 400 health workers have been exposed to these training geared towards improving the quality of maternal and child health services provided.
The Commissioner further explained that health interventions for adolescents especially in the area of reproductive health and psychosocial support have also been in the front burner of the ministry’s activities stressing that this is in a bid to ensure their protection and providing an enabling environment for their attaining their optimal potentials.
“At the moment, there are 13 state owned specialized centres that cater for the reproductive needs of the adolescents, whilst putting into consideration their conservative lifestyles. Six of these centres take care of the teenage moms in addition to the youth friendly services offered to adolescents”, he said.
Abayomi added that the state is also making concerted efforts towards the reduction of the stunting rate from the current 17 percent of under-five children to less than 10 percent. He noted the State government has built the capacity of healthcare providers at the local level on skills for the introduction of micronutrient powder to all under-five children in the state.
“The Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health plus Nutrition Week has come a long way in ensuring free access to high impact but low-cost promotive and preventive health interventions for the mothers, children, adolescents and women that will prevent the common causes of morbidity and mortality in these population groups”, he said.
The Commissioner enjoined citizens especially women of child bearing age, adolescent, nursing mothers and pregnant women to avail themselves of the cost effective health interventions provided during the week by visiting any of the PHCs and designated sites earmarked for the exercise.