Society of Neonatal Medicine Raises Alarm Over High Infant Mortality Rate in Nigeria
The Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine has raised alarmed over the high infant mortality rate in Nigeria .
According to the medical union , the situation where Nigeria ranks first in Africa and second in the world is unacceptable .
The Union appealed to the three tiers of government, corporate organisations and public spirited individuals to partner it in reducing cases of infant mortality to the barest minimum of 10 per cent.
The appeal was made at a press briefing in Kaduna on Tuesday ahead of its 12th Annual General Meeting.
Speaking during the briefing, the National President of the Union ,Professor Mustapha Bello, said the present mortality rate of infants which is above 30 per cent is unacceptable and must be scaled down.
“The new born content of under five years mortality contributing to 30 per cent. We hope to bring it down to ten per cent, which is achievable,” he said.
He said that it was in view of that they are seeking support.
“We still look for support and collaboration from government not only in primary health facilities but in secondary and tertiary facilities
He explained that in view of that, they chose the theme, “Improving Newborn Health in Nigeria: Still Many Miles To Go” for the AGM scheduled for June 24 to 28.
“We need support from the government to consolidate on successes.
“We noticed that attendance at anti natal care is a major issue. As soon as pregnant women get pregnant, they are expected to book for ante Natal care in recognised hospital and if any problem complications arise, they would be tackled.
“Attendance for anti Natal care is quite low, especially in the north, many still deliver at home, the place may not be conducive, infections may occur,” he said.
Speaking further, he said three factors were responsible for the high mortality rate.
“Again, three items were discovered to lead to death. One is not breathing when born, two infections and premature births.
“We are collaborating with govt at our conference workshops where knowledge is given so that they health officers can manage babies better.
“Equipment as simple as amble bag when a baby is not breathing, you use it to resuscitate the baby. We make available cheap tools to health centres so they make use of it.
“For this AGM, the society has a number of amble bags to be given to facilities,” he added.
Speaking further, he said that they have realised that unhealthy practices based on culture or beliefs contribute a lot in making babies infected.
“We realised one way they acquire infection is through the umbilical cord attached to the baby. You need to take care of these cords. On the cord are three major vessels. If you don’t take care of the umbilical cord well, infection will get in and spread through these large blood vessels.
” Some are eager for it to fall off, but for us, the must important is to prevent infection.
“That is what we advocated when we went to Miyetti PHC. If you deliver, go there, they will give you something for preventing infection through the cord. It is free. But it is also cheap, ranging between N200 for a tube and one tube is sufficient for a baby,” he added.
He also emphasized the importance if breast milk to infants, warning mothers to always engage in baby friendly.
“Breastfeeding is also important in keeping the baby healthy. The first breast milk, colostrum is very important. It comes with a lot of protective elements for the babies,” he stressed.