‘Abia should step up efforts to reduce maternal, child deaths’

The Abia State Government has been urged to step up efforts to reduce maternal and child deaths. The call was made at a one day Train-The-Trainer workshop tagged “Helping Babies Breathe”, which had participants drawn from various Local Council across the State.

Salient issues were discussed during the one day workshop held, yesterday, in Umuahia, Abia State Capital, for health workers and stakeholders in the sector, topmost being practical demonstration of how health workers should handle babies during and after birth.

The workshop was organised by a United States (U.S.)-based “Inspire Hope Foundation” led by Dr. Chinyere Anyaogu in collaboration with the state Director of the National Orientation (NOA), Dr. Lady Ngozi Okechukwu, the Office of the Special Adviser to the Abia State Governor on Diaspora Matters and Special Duties, Dr. Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu, and the Office of the State Executive Secretary, Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Chinagozi Adindu.

A resource neonatologist from the University of Benin, Dr. Ikechukwu Okonkwo, said in view of Nigeria’s second position ranking in global neonatal and pre-natal deaths, Abia state ought to step up efforts to address the challenges.

Also, a consultant at the Federal Medical Centre Asaba, Delta state, Prof. Angela Okolo, had stated that ideally, a baby should not be admitted in hospital or medical facility in the absence of or without the mother.

The Executive Secretary of Abia State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Chinagozi Adindu, stated that unless babies breath well, they would have slim chances of survival, adding that the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu’s, government had effected numerous health interventions to improve the healthcare of Abians, including commissioning a modern children hospital at Umuahia with plans to replicate same in the other two senatorial districts of the state.

He therefore charged health workers to, as they attend to babies, do all the needful to help them breathe indicating that the training will be decentralised beyond the state capital.

Declaring the workshop open at the Women Development Centre, the state Health Commissioner, Dr. Joe Osuji, represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Franca Ekwuribe, enjoined the health worker- trainees to thereafter the training, passionately apply the knowledge acquired in their work to facilitate reduction of high child mortality rate in Nigeria.

Speaking on the sidelines, the NOA Director, Lady Okechukwu tasked Nigerians at home and in diaspora to contribute to the easing the challenges facing child mortality in Nigeria and commended the Inspire Hope Foundation medical team of experts for coming to Nigeria despite the prevailing odds.