Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has implored Delta State Government to fully implement the state ‘Every Newborn Action Plan’ which was launched on Thursday in Asaba.
The action plan was launched by Delta State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (DSPHDA) in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
Dr. Ehanire who was represented by Dr. Bose Adeniran, a Director at the Federal Ministry of Health, said the state must mobilise adequate resources to implement the action plan if newly born babies are to survive and reach their full potentials.
Among other strategies to ensure the implementation, the minister called for capacity building for front line health workers at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of healthcare services.
He commended Delta for being the second state after Rivers, to domesticate the action plan which was first launched in 2017 by the Federal Government.
Unveiling the document of the action plan, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Chiedu Ebie decried the worrisome rate of women and children mortality, saying that the launch was an indication of the state government’s commitment to addressing the phenomenon.
Reeling out the statistics, Ebie lamented that “each year, 289,000 women still die while giving birth, an estimated 18,000 children die every day from preventable diseases and circumstances, and 2.9 million newborns die during their first 28 days of life.”
He explained that in 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF launched the ‘Every Newborn Action Plan’ to provide a roadmap of strategic actions for ending preventable newborn mortality, stillbirth and reduce maternal mortality.
Health Specialist in UNICEF Rivers Field Office, Dr. Eghe Abe, on his part, stated that the action plan document would state in plain words how Delta plans to cater for the newborns.
While commending Delta for taking steps to reduce the unacceptable high levels of neonatal deaths, he stated that things must be done differently if the desired result would be achieved.
“It would interest all of us to note that while the under 5 mortality has continued to reduce, the rate of decrease of newborn deaths has somewhat plateaued. Therefore, for the state and country to achieve the SDGs, it needs to do things differently if the neonatal mortality rate is to reduce.
“It is in the light of this that UNICEF wholeheartedly supported the development of this plan. If the plan is fully implemented it is believed that every newborn would not only survive but would thrive and develop to its full potentials.
“As we are all aware, there are emerging and strong evidence that progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030 will only be made if we identify the greatest health disparities and reduce them.
“UNICEF will continue to support the government of Delta State towards its effort at addressing disparities and inequities in health outcomes among the most marginalised people with poor health indicators,” Abe added.