In its continued quest to reduce maternal, infant and child mortality as well as promote optimal health for the entire family, the Lagos State Government has announced the commencement of the second round of the Y2021 Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MNCAH) week geared towards improving the health-seeking behaviour of all citizens.
A release signed by the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that the MNCAH week is scheduled to hold between Monday, 6th and Friday, 10th December, 2021 in all the Primary Healthcare Centres and designated sites across the State including 310 fixed posts, 376 temporary fixed posts and 752 mobile posts.
While noting that the MNCAH week will be flagged off by the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, on Friday, December 3, 2021, at the Ikorodu Townhall, Abayomi said the weeklong health intervention will provide Vitamin A supplements, malnutrition screening for children between the ages of six months to 59 months, deworming of children between the ages of 12 to 59 months, birth registration as well as HIV and Tuberculosis screening.
According to the Commissioner, other services to be offered are counselling of caregivers on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), food demonstration classes for nursing mothers and caregivers, management of minor childhood illnesses such as malnutrition and malaria, family planning services for females and males, antenatal care, delivery, postnatal care and demonstration of handwashing techniques.
Prof Abayomi said: “As part of the pre-implementation activities to enhance coordination and availability of essential supplies and programme success, planning meetings have been held with officers from other relevant MDAs including Information & Strategy, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Education, Agriculture, Youth & Social Development, Economic Planning & Budget, State Universal Basic Education Board, Civic Engagement, Local Government & Community Affairs, Civil Society Organisations, Development Partners and Community Leaders”.
The Commissioner added that over 4000 health workers and implementers identified for the exercise have been trained to carry out their duties in line with the global best practices and objectives of the campaign.
Noting that the MNCAH week was established in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other Development Partners to increase access to quality Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent healthcare services, Prof. Abayomi maintained that the exercise would improve the health-seeking behaviour of all residents.
He said: “Customarily, it is implemented twice yearly and being the pioneering State, we have been consistent with this laudable initiative that has done nothing else but improved our health indices across the State, especially with the under-five children and women”.
“In addition to improving the health-seeking behaviour of citizens, this programme also promotes the reduction in the fragmentation of healthcare services, especially at the primary level, and improves the provision of healthcare services in an integrated manner which is more sustainable, efficient, impactful and cost-effective”, the Commissioner explained.
He noted that maternal, infant and child deaths are largely preventable with improved health-seeking behaviours, access to timely healthcare and provision of life-saving commodities which the weeklong MNCAH intervention seeks to achieve.
Abayomi added that the Ministry of Health has rolled out a series of training programmes on various maternal and child health interventions such as active management of the third stage of labour, essential newborn care, contraceptive logistics management system, as well as the integrated management of childhood illnesses to both public and private health providers in the State, as part of efforts to develop the institutional capacity of the healthcare providers in Lagos.
Abayomi noted that concerted efforts are being made to reduce the stunting rate from the current 17 per cent of under-five children to less than 10 per cent, stating that the government has built the capacity of healthcare providers at the local level on skills for the introduction of micronutrient powder to all under-five children in the State.
He, therefore, enjoined all residents in Lagos, especially women of childbearing age, adolescents, nursing mothers and pregnant women, to avail themselves of the cost-effective health interventions provided during the week by visiting any of the PHCs and designated sites earmarked for the exercise.