…Targets over 900,000 children and 300,000 pregnant women
Cross River State is poised to deliver a basket of health care services to women and children under an integrated package of highly cost-effective MNCH interventions.
Pregnant women and children are set to benefit from the various forms of health interventions which includes nutritional supplementation of Vitamin A, delivery kits, vaccination, distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets, deworming, screening for malnutrition in the State to help reduce the prevalence of malnutrition, malaria, vaccines preventable diseases among other common causes of maternal and child mortality. The state also flagged off its massive Covid-19 vaccination campaign for person over 18 years of age.
The flagging off exercise which was done by the State’s Health Commissioner, Dr Betta Edu on behalf of the State Governor, Sen (Prof) Ben Ayade, targets over 900,000 children and 300,000 pregnant women across the State. The event which took place in Odukpani LGA also marked the commencement of the mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign across the State.
Declaring the commencement of both exercises open, Dr Betta Edu assured families of government’s commitment towards eradicating every vaccine preventable diseases as well as the continued fight against common causes of deaths in pregnant women and children. She called on all Cross Riverians to take the Covid-19 vaccination if they have not yet taken it, noting that the new Super Variant Omicron is very dangerous.
This integrated intervention, according to Dr Edu, is preventive in nature and aimed at building demand for health services across the state.
“It is completely free and health workers are expected to create awareness working with communities. It’s better and more cost effective for us to prevent diseases rather than cure them.
“I want to encourage our women to take the responsibility of accessing medical care during pregnancy to help keep them and their babies safe. Our traditional and religious leaders need to also see it as a duty to support government and our health workers in advising pregnant women to always register for antenatal services so they can get medical services like screening for HIV/AIDs, vaccinations, routine drugs, awareness on maternal and child dietary requirements as well as giving birth in health facilities under standard professional care.
“Malnutrition screening across the State, deworming of our children as well as the administration of Vitamin A supplement is ongoing as this will help promote a healthy living and prevent our children from diseases”, she said.
Dr Edu, therefore, charged health workers to go to the field and carry out the exercise, while thanking all partners for their unflinching support and solicited that the maternal and newborn health week be extended to next week so the State can achieve a wider and better coverage.
On her part, the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong described the 2nd round of the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week as a high impact intervention for mothers and children which is aimed at bridging the existing gap in communities as a result of the minimal access to healthcare services due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Health workers have been deployed to various communities to create more awareness. We therefore encourage our mothers to take their children to the closest healthcare centres in order to get access to Vitamin A supplements for children under age five, deworming tablets and immunization to guarantee full immunity against childhood killer diseases. Let me also call on our people to ensure they take the Covid-19 vaccine as that’s the only remedy to keep us safe and free from the virus. The advocacy will continue and will even be taken to market places and churches as we must continue to do these things so our people can continue to live a healthy life.
Good will messages came from the Chairman of Odukpani LGA, Hon. Justina Edem who was ably represented by the LGA supervisor for health, Hon. Ndem Essiene, representative of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Dominic Elue, the State Coordinator of the NPHCDA, Mr Julius Idoko, W.H.O representative Mr Pella Umar, Nutrition International, traditional leaders, religious leaders.
Highpoints of the event was the administration of Vitamin A supplement, COVID-19 vaccination and distribution of delivery kits to pregnant women amongst others.