UNICEF tasks media on awareness creation to avert maternal deaths

Samuel Luka, Bauchi

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged the media to embark on vigorous reportage to ensure change in behavior of people towards addressing problems relating to maternal deaths.

The call was made during a Media Dialogue organized by the Fund on the First 1,000 Days of a Child’s Life held in Gombe, Gombe state on Tuesday.

Presenting a paper, a Health expert from UNICEF, Dr. Emmanuel Egbedo said 75 percent of newborn deaths occur at the first week of birth.

According to him, 50 percent of maternal deaths also occur at 28 weeks, adding that children who completes all immunisations and proper child care stand the chance of surviving the first 1,000 days of life.

He said that the period has shown to have the greatest potential for positive impact on long term health outcomes for both mother and child.

Dr. Emmanuel explained that the first 1,000 days is a window of greatest contact with the health system for women mothers, newborns and children.

He further noted that the first 1,000 days is a Period of greatest health risk and vulnerability for adverse health effect for women, mothers, newborns and children.

Dr. Emmanuel emphasized that such duration of child’s life comes with great demand and challenge to the health system, saying, it is a critical determinant of the survive, thrive, and transform agenda of a child.

Other health experts said that the current economic reality might worsen the rate of newborn maternal mortality.

They pointed out that one case of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in every six children is reported in North-East emergency states.

They said one SAM case is reported in every seven children in nine northern non-emergency states compared to one (SAM) in 77 children in the remaining part of the country.

The experts observed that poverty is driving more mothers and children to health risk.

Acting Executive Secretary of Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Maryam Abubakar, said that the region records more cases of child stunting, underweight and wasting.

Maryam said 1.0 percent cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition in the country and the region account for 1.5 percent.

According to her, the region also has 44 percent against the 40 percent of children lacking vitamin-A.

Also speaking, Director of Planning, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Jibrin Mohammed, said despite the state of emergency declared by the state there is a need to urgently address the situation.

According to him, the first 1,000 days of a child begins at the conception stage, pregnancy, birth to two years of age and as such, adequate health care attention need to be given to their favor.

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