Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo on Tuesday flagged off the first round optimized Maternal, Newborn Child Health (oMNCH) week in Umueri, Anambra East Local Government Area of the state.
The exercise, organised by Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA) in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is targeted at strengthening delivery and utilization of health services using 600 Primary Healthcare, secondary and tertiary facilities as well as outreach/temporary sites in the state.
Speaking during the event, Soludo, represented by his deputy, Dr. Onyekachi Ibezim underscored the importance government attached to health of children, pregnant and nursing mothers.
He said the outreach was in line with Soludo’s campaign promises on health, including completion of General Hospitals in the state which would be accessible to all, irrespective of political or religious affiliations.
He urged both women and children to take advantage of the various drugs and supplement to be distributed during the week to ensure they were strong and healthy, assuring that none of the drugs was harmful to health.
“Please take the message to others who are not privileged to be here. Besides, the flood is gradually coming. Start early to prepare, including harvesting your crops so the flood doesn’t overtake you. We’re preparing the IDP camps,” he added.
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Enugu, Mrs Juliet Chiluwe described the event as significant milestone for the attainment of children right in Nigeria and also scaling up demands for PHC services.
She emphasized the need for mothers to eat and serve their children healthy and nutritious meals, stressing that several local foods were far more nutritious than fast food and other inorganic food preferred by today’s kids.
“UNICEF had been key in influencing policies, including attainment of child rights act and supporting flood victims in the state. For over 14 years now, we’ve been working closely with ASPHCDA, RUWASA, SEMA and other health institutions,” she added.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike appreciated UNICEF and other stakeholders for their support to the state in various health interventions.
He described antenatal among pregnant women as life saving, assuring close monitoring of the exercise to ensure the desired results were achieved.
Earlier, Executive Secretary, ASPHCDA, Mrs Chisom Uchem said the outreach which would end July 2, was aimed at increasing access to, and utilization of essential and life saving interventions.
“The exercise is also to strengthen routine system through updated knowledge and skills of health workers for service delivery, improved health management information systems as well as improve healthy household practices,” she said.
Uchem further disclosed that the exercise would among other things, involve vitamin A supplementation and nutrition screening to children between 6 months to 59 months, deworming of children between one to five years as well as vaccination of children below 23 months.