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Nigeria: Lagos Moves to Check Child, Maternal Deaths

Nigeria: Lagos Moves to Check Child, Maternal Deaths

Lagos State has launched a capacity development initiative to check growing incidence of child and maternal death in the country by introducing a two-day International Obstetric-Drill for doctors, nurses and midwives in the health sector of the state.

The commissioner for health, Dr. Jide Idris who disclosed this Wednesday noted that the gesture was in demonstration of government’s consistence and compliance with International best practices and pursuant to the realisation of key health related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Speaking at the commencement of the pilot phase of the training held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) on Wednesday 23, Idris said, the present administration in the state was very concerned by the growing rate of child and maternal mortality in the country hence the strategic intervention by way of a capacity development workshop organised to update the skills of those in the service of the State government.

“This training initiative underscores our unchanging commitment to keep faith with a timely realisation of the 4th and 5th Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) respectively especially as they relate to reduction in maternal and child mortality rates by the year 2015,” the Commissioner said.

The training which attracted experienced facilitators from the British health sector, the Commissioner disclosed, would be extended to primary, secondary and tertiary health institutions in the coming days just as it would be focused on other aspects of healthcare delivery.

Also speaking at the occasion, Dr. (Mrs.) Florence Yemisi Makinde, one of the visiting U.K-based facilitators, predicted a better future for the Lagos State health sector, she said, “I think if we can master these skills, it will go a long way to stop these unnecessary deaths within days, weeks and months especially in Nigeria and Africa. The professionals being trained today; doctors, nurses and midwives can actually go back to their various hospitals and introduce Emergency Skills Drills. They can actually go and change practice, utilise the skills acquired now and say to other colleagues, this is how we should do it now”.

Makinde further commended the efforts of the Babatunde Fashola administration saying, I think the government is working hard. I think if we did have money and the will, things like this should be in place in about every state because if we have emergency services in place, then we won’t have unnecessary deaths.

With this training, the present administration in Lagos State appears to have taken the right step in a right direction to checkmate the frightening maternal mortality ratio which statistics put at 400 per 100,000 live births globally.

In Nigeria, the figure is put at 1500 per 100,000. Put in perspectives therefore, the initiative of the Fashola administration can be said to be exemplary in a country where a woman dies approximately every three minutes from childbirth and where there are, at least, 30 morbidities such as Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF), Rector-Vaginal Fistula (RVF),infertility and organ failures for every maternal death . With every maternal death, there are more infant deaths,” she added.

Statistics show that there is a close relationship between the well-being of the mother and the health of the child. The mortality ratio for children under five years old in Nigeria is 230 per 1000 live births. This translates to the fact that, 16 children under five years die every ten minutes. Newborn deaths account for more than a quarter of these deaths especially within the first week of life due to pregnancy and delivery-related complications.

The 4th Millennium Development Goal is focused on the need to reduce child mortality by two thirds by the 2015 The International Obstetric Drill currently introduced by the present administration in Lagos State clearly puts Lagos State in the lead amongst states with innovative strategies directed at the realisation of the health-related MDGs by the year 2015.

Source: Daily Champion – 2 August 2008

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