UNICEF Partners Launches Program to Reduce Newborn Death in Kebbi state
State Ministry of Health, State Primary Health Care Development Agency, National Society for Neonatal Medicine (NISONM), UNICEF and partners concluded a three-day training on essential newborn care in Kebbi State on 27 June. 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 is part of a series of newborn health related activities executed in Kebbi during the last week of June. 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.
On Tuesday 26 June, Dr Zainab Atiku Bagudu, the Wife of Governor of Kebbi State, 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.
By launching the Every Child ALIVE campaign, Kebbi State joined UNICEF and partners and committed to delivering solutions on behalf of the newborns in the state. This means keeping every child alive by:
Recruiting, training, retaining and managing sufficient numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives with expertise in maternal and newborn care;
Guaranteeing clean, functional health facilities equipped with water, soap and electricity, within the reach of every mother and baby;
Making it a priority to provide every mother and baby with the life-saving drugs and equipment needed for a healthy start in life; and
Empowering adolescent girls, mothers and families to demand and receive quality care.
This 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.