• Friday, March 01, 2024
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UNICEF, LASG in pact to reduce rate of newborn deaths

UNICEF, LASG in pact to reduce rate of newborn deaths

In an effort to reduce the high rate of newborn deaths in Lagos State, the Lagos State Government (LASG) has entered into partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch the Lagos State Every Newborn Action Plan. The initiative aims to ensure that every newborn not only survives but thrives in the state.

Celine Lafoucriere, chief field officer of UNICEF in Nigeria, reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to this partnership during the inauguration and dissemination of the action plan. She emphasized that UNICEF would provide support for budget implementation, with the goal of addressing United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.2, which targets the reduction of newborn and child mortality by 2030 worldwide.

The SDG 3.2 aims to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age globally. In Nigeria, UNICEF reports indicate that approximately 262,000 babies die at birth each year, with 576 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Speaking at the event, Lafoucriere said, “UNICEF is always on the side of Lagos State Government, and the Action Plan is an important step to ensure that newborns do not only survive but also thrive.”

Read also: UNICEF deepens awareness to improve adolescent health in Lagos

She stressed the vital role of budget implementation in providing health facilities with the necessary resources and training for healthcare personnel to care for newborns effectively. Additionally, community health workers were encouraged to actively inform pregnant women about available healthcare facilities and insurance options.

Also at the launch, Olusegun Ogboye, permanent secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Health, highlighted that the action plan was part of the government’s strategy to accelerate the reduction of preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths. It aims to scale up evidence-based and cost-effective interventions that will contribute to global, national, and state commitments, ultimately leading to positive outcomes for newborns. The plan aligns with the United Nations Every Newborn Action Plan and the state’s strategic health development plan to enhance neonatal care.

Ogboye said: “The high contribution of neonatal deaths and prenatal deaths to the burden of deaths in Nigeria highlights the need for implementation of impactful interventions targeted at all newborn survival.”

He also emphasized the importance of collaboration with professional bodies and the private health sector to achieve set targets.

In addition, Folasade Oludara, director of Family Health and Nutrition at the State Ministry of Health, noted that the action plan focuses on harnessing available resources to improve neonatal care while ensuring equity, regardless of financial status.

She highlighted the importance of adhering to policy guidelines and strategies to provide better care for newborns and expand insurance coverage.

Read also: UNICEF seeks longer maternity leave to promote exclusive breastfeeding

“The Lagos State Every Newborn Action Plan outlines interventions in four key areas: promoting facility-based deliveries, strengthening community-based interventions, enhancing facility readiness for quality newborn care, and providing quality care for newborns during the first week of life,” Oludara said.

“The ultimate vision of the plan is to eliminate newborn deaths, ensuring that every woman delivers safely and that all newborns survive and reach their full potential,” she continued.

According to her, “The Lagos State government is committed to taking holistic measures to achieve this goal, addressing health inequities and strengthening the healthcare system.”