…..Restates Commitment to Elimination of Neonatal Mortality, Stillbirths 

Lagos State Government today launched a document which contains strategies to accelerate progress towards achieving the vision to reduce and end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths in the State titled: the Lagos State Every Newborn Action Plan (LaSENAP).

The document which was unveiled and disseminated to health sector stakeholders at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, was developed in line with the Nigerian Every Newborn Action Plan (NiENAP) and the Lagos State Strategic Health Development Plan II (SSDPII).

Speaking at the launch of the document, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye noted that the LaSENAP document is aimed at scaling up evidence based and cost effective interventions that will serve as a concerted efforts towards translating global, national and state commitments into a meaningful change for newborns.

In his words: “The LaSENAP document contains the strategy of the Lagos State Government to accelerate progress towards achieving the vision to reduce and ultimately end preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths.

The plan is aimed at not only fast tracking progress but scaling up evidence based and cost effective interventions that will serve as a concerted effort towards translating global, national and state commitments into a meaningful change for newborns while improving coverage targets in line with the global timeline for year 2030”.

While explaining that the LaSENAP document was developed in line with NiENAP and SSDPII, making use of 10 thematic areas and presenting the intervention packages required to improve newborn health through a four pronged approach, Ogboye opined that implementing LaSENAP will help reduce neonatal mortality in Lagos and Nigeria.

“It is expected that with the efforts and gains contributed from implementing the LaSENAP, neonatal mortality in Nigeria will reduce to 15 per 1000 live births or less by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target”, He said.

The Permanent Secretary disclosed further that Lagos State has made a significant progress over the years in improving maternal and child health indices stressing that this is consistent with the improvement of the State health system of providing quality maternal and neonatal care.

He added the significant progress recorded by Lagos is as a result of its strengths and opportunities which include strong political will, continuous engagement with professional bodies, active collaboration with the private health sector, continued human capital development of health workers, donor agencies and partner support, hardworking and committed health workforce and dedicated budget line for child health intervention.

“The State is not resting her oars in spite of the downward trend in the number of under- five and neonatal deaths in the State. Newborn deaths are a significant contributor of under-five mortality, and the three major causes of death in newborns are prematurity, perinatal asphyxia and neonatal sepsis which are largely preventable by good antenatal care, delivery by skilled birth attendants and good postpartum care”, Ogboye said.

While officially unveiling the document, the Permanent Secretary urged all relevant agencies of government, developmental partners, civil societies, private sector and other stakeholders to join hands with the Ministry of Health to mobilize necessary resources towards the full implementation of activities in the policy document.

“The goals for child survival and reduction of neonatal mortality cannot be reached without an increased focus on neonatal outcomes. It is imperative that all inter-sectoral stakeholders come together to overcome the bottlenecks and ensure quality and equitable newborn care for all neonates.

“Strong leadership will and institutionalization of appropriate policies and guidelines are needed to harmonize the implementation of interventions through an efficient monitoring and evaluation framework across the State”, Ogboye stated.

Earlier, the Chief of UNICEF  Lagos Field Office, Dr. Celine Lafoucriere noted that the launch and dissemination of the LaSENAP document is a significant milestone for thousands of Newborns in Lagos whose fundamental right to survival is about to take a positive turn.

She added that the development and dissemination of the plan is a testament to the Lagos State Government’s commitment to prioritizing children’s health and well-being and a positive move towards achieving the SDG target for reducing neonatal deaths in Nigeria

“By putting the health and well-being of children and newborns on the agenda through this tool for strengthening newborn care, we collectively give them a fair chance at a better and safer life. Healthy women and children are the backbone of a healthy and productive society, and Maternal and newborn health is critical for achieving universal health coverage”, Lafoucriere said.

While commending the Lagos State Government for its all-inclusive system of governance and collaboration with relevant stakeholders in improving the health of citizens, the Chief of UNICEF Lagos Field Office said that UNICEF is fully committed to working with the State Government to support the acceleration efforts as outlined in the action plan to reduce newborn deaths and provide quality, efficient and accessible healthcare for every mother and child.

“Our goal should be to reach a level in Lagos State where no child dies from preventable causes, and all children reach their full potential in health and well-being. Achieving this goal requires a holistic approach that addresses inequities in health outcomes, strengthens the health systems, and promotes integrated, multi-sectoral policies and programs”, She noted.

Speaking in the same vein, the Director, Family Health and Nutrition, Dr. Folashade Oludara noted that the LaSENAP document embodies the collective wisdom and expertise of the State technical teams, civil society organizations and community leaders.

“This document emerged from meticulous scrutiny of the national versions, accompanied by a series of bottleneck analyses and validations at various levels. This patient and thorough process has yielded a well-crafted document that we believe will garner commitment from donors, philanthropists, development partners, and compassionate individuals”, She stated.

Oludara added that the State Government has also achieved remarkable milestones in caring for older children through targeted strategies including routine immunization, integrated management of childhood illnesses, home-based care, diarrhea control, infant and young child feeding amongst others.

Giving an overview of the LaSENAP document, the  Program Coordinator, Dr. Taiwo Johnson explained that the seven chapter documents presents interventions packages required to improve newborn health using four pronged strategy which include; the promotion of facility based deliveries at scale addressing equity issues; strengthening of community based intervention; strengthening facility readiness to provide quality care for newborns; and provision of quality care for newborn with a focus on labour birth and immediate care after birth during the first week of life.

Dr. Johnson noted that the vision of the document is to achieve a state where deaths of newborns are eliminated and every woman delivers safely with all newborns surviving and developed to achieve their maximum potential.

“It lays out Lagos vision of a State where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth celebrated, and women , babies and children survive, thrive and reach their full potential with no preventable deaths of newborns and no still births”, She said.

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