FG launches policy documents on Newborn Health

:L-R Hon. Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole, Director Family Health , Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi and USAID Representative Dr. Joseph Monehin during press briefing on Pneumonia and Prematurity Day in Abuja

ABUJA (Health Ministry’ Report)- Federal Government of Nigeria has launched three policy documents to improve newborn health in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole launched the documents recently at a press briefing to commemorate 2016 World Prematurity Day and World Pneumonia Day in Abuja.

The launched documents were: Nigeria Every Newborn Action Plan, Essential Newborn Care Training Package and National Chlorhexidine Scale Up Strategy document.

Adewole explained that the first document, the Nigerian Every Newborn Action Plan highlights government’s commitment to end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths by the year 2030, while the second document, Essential Newborn Care Course (ENCC) training package was developed based on a combination of documented evidence about newborn health in Nigeria and global best practices.

The third, National Chlorhexidine Scale up Strategy document highlights government’s drive to ensure that 4% Chlorhexidine gel is readily available and used across the country for umbilical cord care.

Speaking on the Ministry’s interventions aimed at reducing the burden of diseases due to pneumonia and Premature birth, the Minister said that Nigeria has taken the lead in Africa to be the first country to start producing Amoxillin Dispersible Tablets as well as Chlorhexidine gel for cord care.

In his words, “Introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as part of our routine immunization schedule is another clear demonstration that Government is set to bring the scourge of pneumonia to an end.”

“Let me affirm also that the Federal Ministry of Health remains committed to scaling up high impact interventions such as immunization, strengthening of human resources and capacity development across the country to address these major killers of our children.”   The Minister added.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Binta Adamu Bello represented by the Director, Family Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi said that pneumonia and prematurity were some of the major causes of child and neonatal death.

Bello said factors that predispose pregnant women to preterm delivery and under five children to pneumonia are multi –faceted and require similar approaches to tackle them.

She stressed that though several interventions have been put in place to address Prematurity and Pneumonia in Nigeria, there was still need to explore innovative, newer and more cost effective ways to tackle the issues given the present economic situation.

According to her, poverty and low literacy level as well as unequal access to  healthcare service among women especially among the rural and semi-urban population were considered as some of the factors precipitating the challenges.

She however said that the effort of the present administration to provide Universal Health Coverage to all Nigerians would go a long way in providing solution to the problem.