As part of her strategies to complement the effort of the governor in providing quality healthcare services for Ondo state’s citizenry, the First Lady, Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, today, launched the Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival, AMCS, programme.
The Community-led programme is geared towards curtailing maternal and Child mortality, promoting child immunisation and family planning in the State, using Community Health Influencers, otherwise called ‘SOLAYO Vanguard’.
Launching the scheme at the Government House ground, Akure, the State Capital, the First Lady distributed SOLAYO kits to some pregnant women as a pilot of the programme which would be replicated across the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo state.
Lamenting the highest maternal mortality rate in Nigeria, the AMCS’ initiator emphasised the need for pregnant women to have safe delivery by having access to antenatal care and family planning services.
She said: ” Pregnancy is a natural process that should bring about celebration and not sorrow. Most of the maternal deaths are a result of complications arising from severe bleeding and infections after child birth, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, and unsafe abortion.
“A sizeable proportion of these incidences could have been avoided if pregnant women complete antenatal care contact and have their deliveries in health facilities.
“It is however displeasing that only 43% of Nigerian women are attended to by a skilled health worker during delivery and only half of pregnant women in Nigeria receive antenatal care more than four times”.
Mrs Akeredolu, while admonishing the SOLAYO VANGUARDs to work tirelessly towards achieving the aim of the programme, noted that misconceptions and myths play major roles in the low uptake of child immunisation in Nigeria.
According to her, “although child immunization increases the chances of child survival by almost 33% yet only 23% of children under – 5 receive the full dosage of child immunization package in Nigeria.
“This tells us that we have to keep pushing till we get to the point where no woman dies from pregnancy related causes, all pregnancies are by choice and all children are immunized”.
On the need to ensure all myths surrounding immunization, family planning and caesarean section are debunked, the Ondo First Lady discouraged the pregnant women from patronising mission houses, saying that religious leaders are not medical experts who can handle complications.
She hinted that the SOLAYO Vanguards have been trained to identify, mentor and refer pregnant women within their jurisdiction to ensure the pregnant women go for antenatal care.
“We need you to bridge the family planning unmet need gap. We also need you to help us achieve high child immunization coverage. I am aware that you have been supporting the primary health centre by volunteering your time to promote health in your community. Your actions are commendable and worthy of recognition”, says Mrs Akeredolu to the SOLAYO Vanguards.
Dr. Francis Akanbiemu, the Permanent Secretary of the State Primary Health Care Development Board, whose office partners the office of the First Lady for the programme, disclosed that AMCHS Project entails provision of birth kits to pregnant women across the state.
He, however,implored the SOLAYO Vanguards, ward Focal Persons and Health Personnel to rise up to the task in order to make the initiative a success.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Permanent Secretaries of the Ministry of Health and the Hospital Management Board, Mrs Foluke Aladenola and Dr. Ikuomola, commended the First Lady’s giant stride in complementing Governor Akeredolu’s efforts to revamp the health sector.
They both plegded their unflinching support towards the successful implementation of the project.
By Mary Agidi
Special Assistant to the governor on Media
(Office of the First Lady)
Oct. 13th, 2021.