The Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine says the country has a long way to go in improving the newborn health which remains very low compare to other countries in Africa.
The President of the Society, Professor Mustapha Bello made the assertion while briefing newsmen ahead of the organisation’s 12th Annual General and Scientific Meeting which begins in Kaduna on Thursday.
Professor Bello who relates his assertion to the theme of the meeting “Improving Newborn Health in Nigeria Still Many Miles To Go”, appealed to the three tiers of government, corporate organisations, partners and public spirited individuals to collaborate in reducing cases of infant mortality in the country to 10%.
He noted that the present over 30 per cent mortality rate of infants is unacceptable and must be scaled down.
“The new born content of under five years mortality contributing to 30 per cent. We hope to bring it down to ten per cent, which is achievable,” he said.
“We still look for support and collaboration from government not only in primary health facilities but in secondary and tertiary facilities.
The President spoke of poor attitude of pregnant women to ante natal care advising that as soon as pregnant women get pregnant they should book for ante Natal care in recognised hospitals so that should there be any complication it would be tackled.
“Attendance for anti Natal care is quite low, especially in the north, many still deliver at home, the place may not be conducive, infections may occur,” he said.
He disclosed that the Society is collaborating with govt in the training of Child Health Extension Workers, CHEWS among others where knowledge is given so that they health officers could manage babies better.
Emphasis, he said, was also being laid on continued training to cope with the modern technology for enhanced service delivery.
Prof. Bello said they have realised that unhealthy practices based on culture or beliefs contribute a lot in making babies infected, especially the umbilical cord attached to the baby. You need to take care of these cords. On the cord, are three major vessels. If you don’t take care of the umbilical cord well, infection will get in and spread through these large blood vessels”.
He also emphasized the importance of breastmilk to infants, warning mothers to always engage in baby friendly.
“Breastfeeding is also important in keeping the baby healthy. The first breast milk, colostrum is very important. It comes with a lot of protective elements for the babies,” he stressed.