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Alaro City, Lagos seal pact to tackle maternal and infant mortality

A major boost was recently given to efforts to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in Lagos State as the state government and Alaro City entered into a partnership to tackle the scourge.

Specifically, the partnership is between the new city and the state’s Office of Civic Engagement, whose Mother, Infant and Child (MICH) Program provides disadvantaged pregnant women in the state with nutritious food items to improve the health of the mother and aid the brain development of the child.

The MICH Programme, which was flagged off in July 2020 by Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the wife of the state governor, provides pregnant women with basic food items during and after pregnancy and delivery.

This is done in all the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state. The programme targets less privileged and pregnant women living below the poverty levels within the state. The latest phase of the initiative targets 5000 women.

“The MICH programme is a component of the ‘Womb to School’ initiative, which is a basket of social services aimed at supporting the development of socially responsible citizens from the womb through infancy, childhood, and into adulthood,” The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said at the launching, of the latest phase of the programme.

“Through this initiative, we will reach out to indigent pregnant women in the state, to ensure they are well catered for during the period of their pregnancy in order to ensure safe delivery and healthy mother and child. Our target is to reach 5,000 underprivileged pregnant women who would be selected by doctors and specialists in each primary health care centres across the state.

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This is to enable them access the MICH food packs, which contain recommended daily nutritional composition of Protein; Carbohydrate; Lactose; Milk Fat; Fiber; Vitamins A, C, D3, E, B1, B2, B6, B12, Calcium and Folic Acid,” the governor explained.

Aderemi Adebowale, Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, said the MICH Programme targets 15,000 beneficiaries within its first three years and would benefit from support from public and private organisations.

“We are pleased with our partnership with Alaro City, which supports us in our work to ensure social cohesion through a systematic build-citizens-from-the-womb strategy, with particular focus on the development of the unborn child into responsible and collaborative citizens,” she said.

She explained that the MICH Program ties in perfectly with the state government’s efforts at securing the future of Lagos State, assuring that every life in Lagos counts, even from the womb, and this is what drives the strategy for the MICH Program.

“We are urging more organisations, both public and private, as well as international development agencies, non-governmental organisations and well-meaning individuals to partner with us on this work of building the future of our dear state,” she said.

Authorities of Alaro City assured that they would support the MICH Program with sponsorship for 50 pregnant women in the Epe area.

Launched in January 2019, Alaro City is planned as a 2,000-hectare mixed-income, city-scale development with industrial and logistics locations, complemented by offices, homes, schools, healthcare facilities, hotels, entertainment and 150 hectares (370 acres) of parks and open spaces.

The city is a model for Public-Private-Partnerships, which are a key focus for the Lagos State government. It is a joint venture between Rendeavour, Africa’s largest new city builder, and Lagos State, the economic and financial nerve centre of Nigeria.

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