12.5 per cent of Nigerian children die before age five ― Ehanire

Minister of Health, on Tuesday, lamented the continuing high negative health statistics in the country despite a focused campaign in the last several decades.

At a media parley, on Tuesday, where the Operational Plan 2021 of the Department of Family Health was also launched, Ehanire quoted statistics, which showed that one in eight children born in Nigeria still dies before the age of five.

“According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018, the health indices of vulnerable populations is poor: maternal mortality rate is 512 per 100,000 live births, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate is 17 per cent for all family planning methods, the neonatal mortality rate is 39 per 1,000 live births, the under-five mortality rate remains 132 per 1,000 live births which translates to 1 in every 8 children not reaching their 5th birthday.

“Severe malnutrition has also been a factor in Nigeria with 37 per cent of children under five years suffering from stunting, affecting about 12 million children, while 7 per cent of under-5 children in Nigeria are wasted; 2 per cent are overweight and 23 per cent underweight.

“Among identified impediments to the attainment of desired health and wellbeing in Nigeria are first of all; lack of functional and affordable health centres that limit physical and financial access, to health care and enlightenment, needed to combat harmful traditional or socio-cultural practices and strengthen the decision-making power to seek appropriate health care before, during and after pregnancy or ill-health.”

Sanitation, poor choices in nutrition that omit foods like eggs, beef and fish in the diet of growing children, ignorance of the benefits of modern health services and culturally determined gender role definitions, particularly impact the wellbeing of females and children in some communities.

The deleterious practices he stated, inevitably increase susceptibility to infections, slow down recovery from illness and contribute to preventable morbidity and mortality rates, especially among women children and the elderly.
Ehanire explained that elimination of delays in access to healthcare can indeed reduce the high mortality rates.

“It is estimated that an efficient Emergency Medical Treatment Service can reduce mortality by nearly 50 per cent by reducing delays in physical and financial access, especially at night.

“The Federal Government is poised to launch the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System to provide prompt and efficient emergency Medical Service to the People.

“It will involve prompt response to medical distress calls of all types with first responders, transfer to facilities, assured first aid at the point of care at no immediate user cost.

He, therefore, spoke of the need to strengthen engagement with media institutions and improve strategic communication tools, working with various media platforms to drive social and behaviour change communication and influence attitudes towards reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent and elderly health plus nutrition.

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12.5 per cent of Nigerian children die before age five ― Ehanire

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