As part of activities to commemorate the World Prematurity Day, a non-governmental organization, March Health Care Initiatives (MCI) has called on the government, healthcare professionals, traditional and religious leaders, CSOs, professional associations, research institutions, and the public to pay attention the heavy burden of preterm birth deaths with the a view to ending the negative trend.
The theme for 2020 World Prematurity Day is ‘Together for babies born too soon— Caring for the future’.
Babies born too soon refer to babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy before the full pregnancy cycle is completed.
According to UNICEF, preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death for children under 5, causing an estimated 1 million deaths in 2015 globally. An estimated 15 million babies are born preterm every year – more than 1 in 10 babies around the world and 31% preterm birth complications in Nigeria.
Speaking at an event in Ilorin, organized by the March Health Care Initiatives, Kwara State government, Smile Train amongst others to mark the 2020 World Prematurity Day; the CEO, MCI, Comrade Bunmi Aiyedu-Lawal said the organization seek to galvanise efforts to ensure a Nigeria in which there are no preventable deaths of newborns and stillbirths, where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth celebrated, and women, babies, and children survive, thrive, and reach their full potential.
To achieve the aim, Aiyedu-Lawal explained that MCI is providing catalytic support to government and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the attainment of Universal Health Coverage in the spirit of leaving no child behind!
“The world will not achieve SDG 3 (to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) unless care for every newborn is transformed. This must include the most vulnerable the small and sick newborn.
“To achieve the SDG target to end preventable newborn deaths, MCI is committed to reducing neonatal mortality to at least 50%. In May 16th, 2019, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency declared a state of emergency for Maternal, Newborn and Child’s Health in Nigeria, resulting to the launch of the National Emergency Maternal and Child Health Intervention Centre (NEMCHIC) with the goal of reducing maternal and child deaths by 50% by 2021’’.
Highpoint of the day was the appointment of Smile Train Programme Director for West and Central Africa, Mrs Nkeiruka Obi and wife of the Senator representing Kwara South Senatorial District, Alhaja Rukayat Ashiru as Nigerian Newborn Ambassadors.