Governor of Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Friday, 17 December, 2021 performed the official flag off of the 2021 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) week in the State.
The initiative which is in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) is targeted at delivering a package of basic interventions that are highly effective in reducing child mortality and improving mother and child health.
Activities lined up for the 2021 MNCH Week include provision of vitamin A supplements to all children from the ages of 6 months to 59 months, screening children for malnutrition, family planning services, de-worming among others.
During the week also, all children that are qualified for immunisation will be immunised and long-lasting insecticide nets will be made available in all public health facilities for pregnant women and children.
This is even as WHO renewed its partnership bond with the State to further promote the provision of quality health and keep the people of the state safe and healthy.
Addressing nursing mothers at the flag off of the programme which held at the Ayegbaju International Market, Osogbo, the State capital, Governor Oyetola said MNCH Week was aimed at improving child survival and development and improving maternal health of the people of the State.
He noted that his Administration was prepared to put in place an enduring health system that would prevent the citizenry of the State from all avoidable deaths due to emergencies, disease conditions or nutrition deficiencies.
Oyetola who regarded health as the cardinal programme of his Administration said huge investment has been made to revitalise the sector and ensure restoration of healthy living among the citizens.
He urged parents and guardians to make use of the opportunity provided by the MNCH Week by taking their children and wards to receive the life-saving interventions at the designated health facilities and outreach centres across the State.
According to him, the exercise is free of charge and it is for the benefit of the citizens particularly children who are the future of the State.
Speaking further, Oyetola said “Our government has since inception, recorded remarkable achievements in the health sector. The restoration of healthy living among our people is part of our Administration Development Agenda. I am proud to say that we have delivered on our promise and will continue to pursue this policy with all doggedness and commitment.
“Our government is prepared to put in place an enduring health system that will prevent the citizenry of this State from all avoidable deaths due to emergencies, disease conditions or nutrition deficiencies.
“Health, as we know, is wealth. When we came on board, we have never hidden our intention to prioritise the health of our citizenry. Within three months of coming into office, our government embarked on the renovation, rehabilitation and upgrading of the nine (9) State Hospitals in the State towards ensuring increased accessibility to qualitative higher level of health care services in all the parts of the State.
“We equally ensured provision of modern medical equipment and facilities like 3D ultrasound scanning machines in these hospitals.
“In continuation of our resolve to ensure quality health service for our people at the grassroots, especially in the area of primary health care, our Administration embarked on renovation of 332 Primary Health Centres, PHCs, well-equipped and now functional to fully deliver comprehensive primary health care services in all the LGAs, LCDAs and Area Offices in the State.
“We are committed to pursuing any programme that will bring development to our people as much as availability of funds allows.
“Our government has carried out a lot of intervention activities aimed at protecting our people from diseases, including the Replacement Campaigns of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs), during which nets were distributed to households in the State, awareness and sensitisation programme for the control of diseases like malaria, viral hemorrhagic fevers, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and prevention of COVID 19,” he added.
Earlier in his goodwill message, the representative of the World Health Organisation to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi, acknowledged and appreciated the partnership between the Osun Government and the WHO in promoting quality health and keeping the people of Osun safe and healthy.
Kazadi who lamented the rate of maternal mortality in developing countries, said over the past decades, there has been positive progress in improving health and reducing maternal mortality, neonatal and under-5 mortality in many developing countries including Nigeria.
He said the progress achieved so far was sufficient to attain goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) as it pertains to maternal and child health, hence more efforts and commitments to further improve their health outcomes through universal health coverage.
The WHO boss in Nigeria therefore, enjoined the people of Osun to utilise all the interventions in the maternal newborn and child health programme.
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Osun Primary Healthcare Development Board, Hon. Leke Ogunsola, described the programme as part of attestations to the priority given to total well being of the people especially children by the Administration of Governor Oyetola who he said, has left no one in doubt at improving the health status of every resident of the State.
He disclosed that the exercise would be held in 778 designated health facilities and outreach sites in all the 332 wards of the State for effective coverage.
“During this week, we plan to reach over 988,423 Under-5 children in the State for the under listed child survival interventions such as Vitamin A supplementation; Screeening of children for malnutrition, Immunization; deworming, while eligible women will have access to IPT for malaria prevention in pregnancy; Net Distribution to Pregnant mothers, Iron-folate supplementation for pregnant women and HIV counselling and Testing; family planning services, Distribution Plus/bags to the mothers. Health education and other cost-effective, high impact preventive and curative health interventions.
“It is gratifying to note that the State through the support of Mr. Governor and consistent funding by SOML achieved a giant leap for Vitamin Coverage from 63.5% in 2015 to 86.5% in 2018 (NNHS 2018) the highest so far in Nigeria. This achievement has placed a huge burden on the State to sustain and improve on its current coverage of Vitamin A to remain the number one in Nigeria,” he added.
The occasion was attended by the Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Alabi; the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu; Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Pharm. Olasiji Olamiju; Executive Secretary, State Primary Healthcare Development Board, Dr. Samson Oluwole Fabiyi; Local Government Chairmen; nursing mothers and caregivers; health workers among others.