LAGOS TO INTENSIFY MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH INTERVENTIONS IN RIVERINE, HARD-TO-REACH COMMUNITIES  

 LAGOS TO INTENSIFY MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH INTERVENTIONS IN RIVERINE, HARD-TO-REACH COMMUNITIES   

….As Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Week begins

There will be a heightened level of Maternal, Child and Adolescent health interventions in Lagos especially in riverine and hard-to-reach communities from Monday 12th to Friday 16th July when the first round of 2021 Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MNCAH) week will be implemented in the State, Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has said.

Abayomi who made this known today at a press briefing heralding the commencement of the MNCAH week in Lagos noted that the population of people who reside in riverine and hard-to-reach communities especially pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and adolescents will be among the major targets of the weeklong free family health services and interventions to be delivered.

He added that the need to eliminate delays associated with accessing health care services, increase access to care and attaining universal health coverage particularly as it relates to maternal and child health services informed the need to intensify various maternal and child health interventions to rural, riverine and hard-to-reach communities.

He said: “So this is a high priority area for our government, we’ve over the past decade or two been focusing on the central areas where we can reach by road, but now we recognize that there are a lot of areas that are very inaccessible to us because of the riverine nature of the State, and we are putting emphasis and working with other agencies to be able to bridge the gap, take services to these communities and also bring people from these communities to access emergency services and attention.

“It is important to recognize that a third of Lagos is riverine areas; making it hard-to-reach sometimes, and there are women, children and adolescent in these locations, we are aware of the delays in accessing healthcare in these areas because of lack of communication or lack of a means of transportation or in fact just lack of knowledge.

“So some of the activities that we are carrying out during this weeklong MNCAH week are going to be focused on outreaches to these hard-to-reach communities. The Ministry of Health under the leadership of Mr. Governor is placing emphasis on hard-to-reach areas for this year and next year; we are trying to create communication to these hard-to-reach areas through some ingenious means of solar and other kinds of satellite communication.

“We are also trying to develop ambulance services that can go on water and get to these areas, and we will increase our outreach and clinics to these rural and hard-to-reach areas. Where there are emergencies, these emergencies needs to be communicated to us and there needs to be a means of transporting women or children who are in trouble in these areas; we will reach out to them and if need be, we will bring them from the hard-to-reach areas to a more central location for more advance and specialist care”.

Highlighting a lined list of activities planned for the MNCAH week, the Commissioner said over 4,000 trained health workers have been engaged to carry out Routine immunization, Vitamin A supplementation, De-worming of children between the ages of 12 to 59 months, Malnutrition screening, HIV and Tuberculosis Screening, Counselling of caregivers on Infant & Young Child Feeding (IYCF), Food demonstration classes for nursing mothers and caregivers and Family planning services.

He stated that the weeklong activity will be implemented in 310 fixed posts and 376 Temporary Fixed Posts adding that 752 mobile teams will be deployed to schools to administer deworming tablets and vitamin A to children.

While noting the week is scheduled to hold from Monday 12th to Friday the 16th of July, 2021 at designated centers between the hours of 8am- and 4 pm daily, Abayomi urged mothers, caregivers and the entire family to seize the opportunity provided by the week to benefit from the aforementioned health interventions

“The MNCAH week ensures access to simple low-cost interventions for the promotion, prevention, and treatment of the common causes of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent morbidity and mortality.

“Implementation of the MNCAH week takes place at the primary health centres which are the bedrock of primary healthcare services, and the first point of contact for individuals, the family, and members of the community”, he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said that the State government is committed to implementing a series of interventions aimed at ensuring the availability of quality Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health services at the health facilities and helping families live healthy lives.

Highlighting interventions currently being implemented by the Lagos State Government, Ogboye explained that government initiated and launched the Eko telemed services to enable citizens to have access to accurate information and health services.

He added that the Lagos Health Insurance Scheme was also set up to reduce the high out of pocket expenditure on health of the citizens and increase quality, affordable and equitable healthcare services

“Provision of competency-based training for health workers on life-saving skills such as essential newborn care, integrated management of childhood illnesses, active management of labour, family planning, adolescent, and youth-friendly services and production and distribution of service delivery job aids and protocols on maternal and child health services including family planning are all aimed at ensuring the availability of quality Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health services for all”, the Permanent Secretary said.

Ogboye stated that other MNCAH interventions that the State government have implemented include; branding of some public health facilities with the national green dot site identifier which serves as a pointer logo to access quality family planning services at the community level; establishment of a family planning training centre in LASUTH to serve as a one-stop-shop for family planning training; procurement of essential drugs and supplies for basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric services and establishment of two additional youth-friendly centres across the state, with another two awaiting commissioning.

Also present at the Press Briefing are the Permanent Secretary, Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Ibrahim Mustafa; Director Family Health and Nutrition, Ministry of Health, Dr Folasade Oludara; Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health, Dr. Oreoluwa Finnih and Lagos Coordinator for the Saving One Million Lives Program for Results (SOMLPforR), Dr. Mazeedat Erinosho.

Ayomide Oyewole

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