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

… As Health Week For Maternal, Newborn, Others Begins

There will be a heightened level of Maternal, Child and Adolescent healthinterventions in Lagos, especially in riverine and hard-to-reach communities, from Monday 12th to Friday 16th July when the first round of Y2021 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 there is a need to eliminate delays associated with accessing healthcare services, increase access to care and attaining universal health coverage, particularly as it relates to maternal and child health services, just as he emphasised the need to intensify various maternal and child health interventions to rural, riverine and hard-to-reach communities.

In his words, “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 recognise that there are a lot of areas that are very inaccessible to us because of the riverine nature of the State. 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.

“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 the 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 need to be communicated to us for 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 advanced and specialist care”, Abayomi stated.

Highlighting a list of activities planned for the MNCAH week, the Commissioner said over 4,000 trained health workers have been engaged to carry out routine immunisation, 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 and 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 that the week is scheduled to hold from Monday 12th to Friday the 16thof July, 2021 at designated centres between the hours of 8 am – 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

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 facilities and helping families live healthylives.

Highlighting interventions currently being implemented by the Lagos State Government, Ogboye explained that the government initiated and launched the Eko Telemed services to enable citizens to have access to accurate information and healthservice, adding that the Lagos HealthInsurance Scheme was also set up to reduce the out of pocket expenditure on health by the citizens.

Ogboye stated that other MNCAH interventions that the State Government had 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 were 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 Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOMLPforR), Dr. Mazeedat Erinosho.

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