The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, today, flagged off the Y2023 Maternal, Newborn, Child & Adolescent Health Plus Nutrition (MNCAH+N) Week at the Badagry Local Government Secretariat of Lagos State.
The MNCAH+N Week is a vital health event in Lagos State that emphasises the importance of practising good health-seeking behaviours for the well-being of mothers, children, adolescents, and the whole family. Lagos State has been a pioneer in this initiative, commencing the program in 2012 to provide essential healthcare services to under-five children, mothers, women of childbearing age, and men.
During the MNCAH+N Week, healthcare providers will offer services including routine immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, deworming, growth monitoring, malnutrition screening, and managing malnourished children, among other health services.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Sanwo-Olu, who addressed health stakeholders, community and religious leaders, women, youths and adolescents highlighted the importance of addressing key health challenges in Lagos, such as the under-five mortality rate of 59 per 1000 live births and the Exclusive Breastfeeding rate of 58%.
She said: “To implement this year’s MNCAH+N Week, a multipronged approach will be taken, with all stakeholders expected to support the initiative. The program will run from November 6th to November 10th, 2023, across primary healthcare centers and designated sites, offering services like routine immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, de-worming, malnutrition screening, counseling on infant and young child feeding, family planning services, and more.
“This program is designed to ensure that all children receive necessary healthcare, particularly those who have defaulted on immunisation or have never been immunised.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu who was represented at the event by the Wife of the Chairman of Ojo LGA, Mrs Abimbola Idowu advised pregnant women against patronising quacks for antenatal, delivery, and post-natal health service needs stressing that continued patronage of quacks under any guise poses danger to the heath and well-being of pregnant women and their unborn children.
“We also need to discourage pregnant women from patronising quacks who hide under the guise of Traditional Medicine while practising orthodox medicine illegally.
“These quacks further endanger the lives of victims who patronise them. I commend the efforts of the Traditional Medicine Board and appeal to them to intensify efforts in monitoring and exposing these quacks operating in our communities,” She said.
While appreciating and commending the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his relentless efforts towards improving the health sector and continually put measures in place to ensure inclusive, prompt and effective healthcare services are provided for all residents, the First Lady disclosed that Governor Sanwo-Olu in response to the fuel subsidy removal declared free ante-natal delivery and post-natal services for all pregnant women in State Public Hospitals.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu emphasised the government’s zero tolerance for sexual and domestic violence, urging the community to work together to eradicate such crimes.
She appealed to the Chairmen of the 57 LGAs and LCDAs in Lagos State to support the MNCAH+N week and give it the publicity it deserves in their respective areas.
She also expressed gratitude to the health family, development partners, line ministries, local government chairmen, and the Chairman of Badagry Local Government for their support.
Dr. Sanwo-Olu thanked traditional, community, and religious leaders and the media for their continuous support and encouraged the press to provide extensive coverage of the initiative.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi outlined the objectives of the program, explaining that the MNCAH+N week which occurs twice a year across the State, focuses on ensuring the well-being and health of mothers, expectant mothers, newborn babies, children up to the age of five, and teenagers.
“Its core purpose is to promote healthy lives, thereby contributing to the growth of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole,” he said.
Prof. Abayomi emphasised the importance of well-nourished mothers during pregnancy, noting that the nutrition of the mother directly affects the child’s development in the womb.
According to him, the Lagos State Government has established various programs, infrastructure, and manpower development to support healthy pregnancies and ensure that mothers and babies remain healthy.
“Access to antenatal care in primary health care centres across Lagos is encouraged to monitor and identify potential issues during pregnancy and delivery,” He said.
The Commissioner stressed the significance of child spacing and responsible family planning to provide adequate resources and care for children. With a considerable portion of Lagosians being under the age of 30 to 35, he urged young adults to practice safe sex and responsible social interactions to avoid unwanted pregnancies and neglected children.
Abayomi also highlighted the government’s shift towards prevention rather than treatment and the deployment of experienced staff to strengthen community-level healthcare services, aiming to keep residents healthy and happy, thus contributing to society’s well-being.
The Commissioner expressed the State government’s desire to see fewer individuals in hospitals with sickness and disease, focusing instead on maintaining a healthy community.
“This initiative aligns with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s goal of shifting from treatment to prevention to ensure the overall well-being of Lagos State residents”, he concluded.
Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye disclosed that nutrition programs are being implemented in Lagos State health facilities to ensure mothers are well-nourished during pregnancy and encouraged on exclusive breastfeeding in order to provide a balanced diet for growing children.
He said: “Another concern we addressing is the issue of child stunting, which affects physical and cognitive development. To combat this issue, nutrition programs have been implemented to ensure mothers are well-nourished during pregnancy, encourage exclusive breastfeeding, and provide a balanced diet for growing children.”
Dr. Ogboye reminded all about the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme tagged Ilera Eko health scheme, mandated by federal law, and urged everyone to have it for themselves and their families.
“This insurance covers various healthcare needs and is essential for accessing antenatal care, immunisations, and birth control,” he said.
In her remarks, the Chief of Lagos Field Office, UNICEF, Celine Lafoucriere commended the Lagos State Government’s unwavering commitment to children’s health and well-being, applauding the State government for prioritising children’s health and consistently organising the biannual MNCAH week.
Said She: “The Lagos State Government, led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has demonstrated its commitment to the well-being of its residents, particularly mothers and children, through initiatives like the MNCH week. This dedication aligns with the broader goal of providing quality healthcare services to all Lagos State residents.”
She reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to support the Lagos State government in achieving universal health coverage, particularly for children and mothers.Follow us on social media