Nigeria To Revise All Existing Policies And Strategic Plans On Maternal ,Newborn And Child Health
The Minister Of Health,Professor Isaac Adewole says the Federal Ministry of Health is revising all the existing Policies and Strategic plans on Maternal Newborn and Child health in line with the Global Strategy on Women, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
The minister stated this in Abuja,Nigeria at the National Early Childhood Development Conference 2017 and the launch of the United Nations Children’s Fund,UNICEF’s Global Early Child Development Report.
According Prof. Adewole” These policies include the National Health Policy, Reproductive Health Policy, Child Health Policy and Infant and Young Child feeding. Furthermore, several strategic plans focusing on early Childhood development are in place; Integrated Maternal Newborn, Child Health Strategy, Nigeria Every Newborn and Action Plan and the National Strategy on Scale up of 4 % Chlorhexidine.”
“The current interventions focusing on early childhood development been implemented along the continuum of care using the life course approach at both community and facility levels include:Preconception: Family Planning and maternal nutrition
Pregnancy: Prevention & management of STD, Folic Acid Fortification or Supplementation, Ante natal care -8 visits, Prevention of Malaria using Insecticide Treated Nets and IPT and PMTCT/eMTCT of HIV”
“Labour and Time of Birth: Emergency Obstetric Care and Essential Newborn Care and Exclusive Breast feeding
Early Child Health: Postnatal care, Infant and Young Child Feeding, Immunization – First line charge of the Federal Government. New vaccines rolled out for Vaccine preventable diseases- Pentavalent, Pneumococal conjugate vaccine Promoting Key house hold Practices.Management of common childhood illnessess of Malaria, Diarrhoea and Pneumonia (IMCI & iCCM). Quality of Care – Institutionalization of Maternal Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response”
Professor Adewole said the interventions were in line with the Health component of the Integrated Early Child Development Policy and are being implemented at all levels of health care delivery system including the IDP camps.
“As you are aware, the under five mortality rate is still unacceptably high in this country largely due to high newborn deaths but we have made some significant progress. The under five mortality declined from 201/1000 live births NDHS 2003 to 128/1000 live births NDHS 2013.”
The minister gave an assurance that the Ministry of Health looks forward to the conference outcome of which would provide additional evidence to further reshape the implementation of Early child hood interventions in the Country.
Addressing the conference , World Bank Country Director, Nigeria Mr. Rachid Benmessaoudsaid, who said investing in policies and programme of childhood development was critical toward the actualisation of SDGs, promised continuous support to the Nigerian Government to ensure quality health and development of children in the country.
“The World Bank Group is committed to supporting the effort of the government of Nigeria in ensuring that every Nigerian child reaches his or her potential. This potential can be achieved by addressing the problem of inequality at birth and responding to the welfare rights of every child to access adequate nutrition, live in safe and secure environments and access to stimulation and learning opportunities.”
On his Part UNICEF’s Country Representative ,Mohammed Malik Fall noted that a 2016 national survey indicated that 31% of children under the age of five were moderately or severely underweight in Nigeria.
“Stunting as a result of malnutrition can cause irreversible physical and mental retardation, Even though exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life has clearly been shown to improve physical and mental development, the same survey revealed that only 24% of Nigerian children are exclusively breastfed for six months. Paid maternity leave will help to increase the number of children exclusively breastfed.”
“What we call Early Childhood Development, which includes physical and cognitive support, has a strategic place in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, “Investing in Early Childhood Development including services to support caregivers, quality pre-primary education and good nutrition will help to secure healthy and productive future generations in Nigeria,”said Mohamed Fall .
A global UNICEF report, launched in Abuja , shows that Nigeria is putting its children at risk of under-development, both physically and mentally, because critical national policies are not providing an adequate foundation for their growth. During the first years of a child’s life, the brain grows rapidly; providing good nutrition, loving care and appropriate play provide solid foundations for a child’s learning – and eventual contribution to economic and social growth.”
“The UNICEF report, Early Moments Matter for Every Child, outlines three policies that can give parents the time and resources needed to support their young children’s healthy development.”
“The recommended policies are: two years of free pre-primary education; six months of paid maternity leave; and four weeks of paid paternity leave. Nigeria currently has just three months of paid maternity leave, only one year of free pre-primary education and no paternity leave at all. Only about one in every 10 pre-primary children are enrolled in early education activities.”he added.