Infant mortality, according to Wikipedia, refers to deaths of young children, typically, those less than one year of age. It is measured by the infant mortality rate (IMR), which is the number of deaths of children under one-year of age for 1000 live births. The under-five mortality is also an important statistic, considering that the IMR focuses only on children under one year of age.
Nigeria’s former Minister of Health, Professor Adenike Grange has blamed the Nigerian governments at all levels for the poor health care delivery system in the country.
Delivering a keynote speech at the 19th Professor Bassey Andah Memorial Lecture at weekend, Professor Grange said short life expectancy caused by high infant and maternal mortality rate is one of the major challenges facing the country’s healthcare delivery system.
Contrary to emerging evidence which has proved that HIV-positive women who breastfeed maximise their babies’ health prospects, Nigerian mothers living with the infection are still evading the exercise.
Until recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) advised HIV-positive mothers to avoid breastfeeding if they were able to afford, prepare and store formula milk safely.
Women in Lagos State have cried out to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode over what they described as the exorbitant cost of accessing maternal healthcare in government-owned medical facilities in the state, demanding that the state government redefine the term ‘free healthcare’ which it claims to be offering to expectant women.
According to researchers, a substantial proportion of neonatal deaths occur from infections; neonatal tetanus inclusive of the umbilical cord. Cord care practices may directly contribute to infections in the newborn which accounts for the 26 per cent of global under five deaths, experts say. Evidence from studies also show that the prevalence of cord infection in newborns ranges from 3 to 5.5 per cent in most developing countries.
The World Health Organisation observes that out of more than 56 million cases of abortions that take place globally each year, almost half of the cases are done through unsafe procedures.
It notes further that between 2010 and 2014, there were 55.7 million abortion cases every year and out of these, 17.1 million cases were unsafe.
Elimination of new infections among children and ensuring safe motherhood by 2020 is among the goals of the national programme for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
To this effect, the country is targeting to provide quality HIV testing with results and counselling for 75 per cent of all pregnant women in the country by 2020.
It will also ensure that 60 per cent of all HIV positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers receive ARV drugs the same period.
Dame Okowa, wife of the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has warned mothers to be the ambassadors of health for their wards by taking vaccination of their children and wards seriously or be held responsible if preventable diseases affect them.
Dame Okowa stated this in Asaba when she flagged off the second round of Maternal Newborn Child Health Week (MNCHW), reiterating that the state government had started implementing free medical care for the elderly and disabled as well as improved the free under five medical services.