Health child week in Enugu experience shortage of intervention following awareness

The maternal newborn and child health week that took place in Enugu state recently had some short falls following the awareness created by social mobilization officers (SMOs) and other health workers in various local government areas of Enugu state. The increase in the number of pregnant, nursing mothers and children under 5 years at the various health centres as a result of the awareness created was why some of the interventions like de-worming tablets, mosquito treated nets and some other interventions did not last up to seven days of the exercise.

The exercise was facility based, pregnant women came to health centres and trained health workers were ready at every health centre in the state to provide these services and answer questions on health education accordingly during the one week exercise organised by Enugu state ministry of Health, UNICEF and other partners.

The following six interventions were available: Immunization which includes all vaccines for children and TT for pregnant women, Nutrition: Vitamin A, De-worming, Folate and Mid Upper Arm Circumference. Health Education: Hand washing, breastfeeding, key house hold practice, HIV/AIDs. Safe Motherhood : Antenatal care and family Planning. Malaria: Nets-LLINs and anti-malaria drugs also. There was also birth registration. The program was flagged off by the Enugu state Governor, Sullivan Chime represented by his commissioner for health George Eze in company of representative of other partners like UNICEF.

Enugu state used the occasion to reassure the residence of Enugu of her readiness to ensure that no child under the age of five or pregnant woman dies of preventable diseases in the state and also promised to meet with the MDG 4 and 5 before 2015 dead line. The governor emphasised that the era where children die of preventable diseases has gone. He further called on nursing mothers and pregnant women to key into the state’s free health care programme to ensure the survival of pregnant women and children less than five years. The governor further stated that the government is embarking on total renovation of all the health centres in the state, adding that a lot of money has been voted for district hospitals and the challenges facing the workers will be addressed. However, some local governments experienced shortage in supply of the products and services. Explaining to BusinessDay at  Udenue local government area, the Health social moblization officer

 Nwagbara Meletus said “the number of people that came out this year to access the health intervention are more than what it used to be in past hence some drugs like De-worming tablets, folates were not sufficient for at some health centres. At Igbo- Etiti Agbo, Christopher and his counterpart in Nkanu East, Isreal Ebony, agreed with the officer in Udenu, saying “there were adequate Vitamin ‘A’ and malaria drugs but we regret to note that Nets-LLINs were not enough.” He also complained about the health officer in Awgu Local government. Offor’s division experienced poor logistic arrangement which he said is setting back the smooth operation of health programmes in the rural areas. According to Offor, “the aim of the health officers at the rural level was to ensure villagers see the importance of patronising health centres in their areas instead of going to quacks.”

In their contribution UNICEF ‘A’ Field office Enugu represented by Tosi Kuti (OIC) said that “maternal and under five mortality still remain the two principal indicators for the assessment of the survival of women and children as captured in the MDGs focus. It is critical that all stake holders under the leadership of the government should continually put more effort to address issues of child maternal health.”


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