The Bayelsa State Government has launched the Every Newborn Action Plan with a commitment to formulate policies and programmes that are geared towards mitigating newborn deaths.
This was disclosed by the First Lady of Bayelsa State, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Diri at the official launch of “Every Newborn Action Plan” organised by the state Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Bayelsa State Primary Health Care Board in Yenagoa.
Represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Health, Mrs. Pasisei Ikiomoton, Dr. Diri noted that the launch of the action plan will in no small measure reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and serve as a means to provide accurate data targeted at saving newborn lives in our communities.
According to her, the safety and well-being of the mother and child are key components in realizing safe care before, during pregnancy and after delivery, hence the need to put in place all necessary measures to provide the enabling environment for the provision of optimum health services.
The First Lady maintained that the neonatal period which is the first 28 days of life is very crucial to the child’s survival as this period is always associated with the highest risk of deaths per day more than any other period in childhood.
The wife of the Governor stressed that labour, birth and immediate postnatal periods are the most critical period for newborn and maternal survival as 75% newborn deaths can be prevented by means of effective health measures provided at birth and during the first week of the child’s life.
Dr. Diri stated that all newborns require essential newborn care to minimize the risk of illness and maximize their growth and development, adding that warmth, normal breathing, mother’s milk and prevention of infection are the basic needs of a normal newborn at birth.
She emphasized that these basic needs are indication that the baby’s survival totally dependent on her mother and other caregivers and urged for proper provision of care for the neonates in Bayelsa State after birth.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Igwelle while speaking said that the desire of every parents is to see their newborn grow optimally to adulthood and demonstrate all God given potentials, but however noted that the situation is not the case in the entire country as most of these babies die of preventable disease conditions.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodo-Nathaniel Apoku noted that statistics indicate that out of 7 million babies born, 240 thousands of these babies die in their first month of life and 94 thousands die on the day of birth in addition to nearly 314 thousand still births.
Dr. Igwelle stated that the situation is more worrisome in Bayelsa State and has become a public health concerns, saying that 3500 neonates die in their first day of life from preventable causes which is the highest in the South-South region.
In his goodwill message, the UNICEF Rivers Field Officer, Dr. Eghe Abe commended the state ministry of health and the Bayelsa State Primary Health Care Board for developing a document aimed at bringing about plans and activities in reducing this unacceptable high level of neonatal deaths in Bayelsa in particular and Nigeria in general.
Dr. Abe stated that the main mandate of UNICEF is to support Governments all over towards its efforts at addressing inequality and inequity in health outcomes among the marginalized and most vunerable groups in the society, reiterating its commitment to continue to give the Bayelsa State Government the necessary support that will bring about high impact intervention that would significantly reduce maternal and child deaths.