Neonatal Mortality: Nigeria Far From Meeting SDGs Target – Minister

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Coordinating minister of health and social welfare, Prof Mohammed Ali Pate, has said Nigeria is still far from meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of 12 per 1,000 livebirths neonatal mortality rate, aimed at reversing the country’s ugly neonatal indices.
The minister stated this at the commemoration of the 2023 World Prematurity Day, themed: “Small actions, big impact: skin-to-skin care for every baby everywhere” and the launch of four documents, towards reducing newborn deaths particularly due to preterm births, in Abuja.
The four documents developed by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with partners are: The Nigerian Every Newborn Action Plan, The Chlorhexidine Scale Up Strategy, The Facilitators Guide for Comprehensive Newborn Care Course, and The Caffeine Citrate Market Survey, for dissemination.
Represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Daju Kachollom, the minister said though the 2021 MSCs report showed a five-point drop in the neonatal mortality rates, the country is still not close to meeting its target.
“The 2021 MICs report showed a five-point drop in the neonatal mortality rate, indicating that our combined efforts are beginning to yield results. Although this represents a reassuring motivation for all new born stakeholders, I must quickly add that we are quite far from our targets if we must meet the SDGs of 12 per 1,000 livebirth as part of the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health to reverse these ugly neonatal indices,” he said.
He stressed the need to address the issue of neonatal infections which, according to him, has consistently shown to be a leading cause of neonatal death in the country largely arising from umbilical cord infections.
However, Pate said the revised version of the National Scale up Strategy for Chlorhexidine in the country was developed to address the ugly incident.
He said preventing deaths and complications from preterm birth starts with a healthy pregnancy.
“Key intervention such as counselling on healthy diet, optimal nutrition, early ultrasound to help determine gestational age and detect multiple pregnancies; and a minimum of four contacts with health professionals throughout pregnancy – starting before 12 weeks – to identify and manage risk factors are key to preventing preterm birth,” he added.

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