The Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine (NISONM) has lamented Nigeria’s high rate of neonatal mortality now 33%, just as it holds its 12th Annual General Scientific Meeting on Thursday in Kaduna to address the menace.
The theme for the scientific meeting is “Improving Newborn Health in Nigeria; Still a Long Way To Go” the paediatrics, who care for new born babies, have also organise a training for community based health workers to give them knowledge and skill to help them care better for the newborns and another training on respiratory support for secondary and tertiary facilities workers.
According to NISONM, Nigeria has the second highest mortality rate of neonatal (infants within the first month of their birth) in the world and the highest in Africa and there is need to address the issue to reduce the mortality rate to below 10%.
President of the Society, Prof Mustapha Bello attributed the high mortality rate to low attendance of ante natal that may lead to infection; poor facilities and equipment particularly amble bag; sepsis formed when umbilical cord is not well treated after being cut; as well as poor knowledge and expertise of healthcare providers.
“Three items were discovered to lead to neonatal death. One, is not breathing when born, two, infections and three, premature births.
“The attendance at ante natal care is poor, statistics is quite low especially in the North and the rural areas many delivers at home where there are no facilities an infection may occur. Pregnant women should be encouraged to attend ante natal in healthcare centers.
“At the point of delivery the expertise, facilities and equipment matter, lots of newborns die within 24 hours of birth if they did not cry at birth, we are organising training for healthcare providers to address this. One was babies acquire infection is through umbilical cord if not properly taken care of. Stop sepsis is our programme of using the right treatment for umbilical cord to allow it heal well and the stump will fall off.
“At this conference, we are providing the healthcare providers we have trained with amble bags to help them resuscitate babies who did not cry or are not breathing after birth. We are also working to make the amble bags available and we urge government to support healthcare providers in that area,” he added.