No improvement in newborn survival in Nigeria—Toyin Saraki

Friday, July 14, 2017

Wife of the  Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki has scored Nigeria low on newborn survival, saying the level of improvement in reducing deaths in newborn babies globally has not played out in Nigeria.
Mrs Saraki, in a keynote address at the 10th annual general meeting and scientific conference of the Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine (NISONM), stated that there has been little improvement in reducing deaths in newborns.
Mrs Saraki, president/Founder, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, represented by Mrs Amy Oyekunle, Executive Director, Global, Wellbeing Foundation Africa stated that records of 240,000 babies dying out of at least seven million babies  born yearly in Nigeria was totally unacceptable.
“We all know, there has been a level of improvement in the reduction of under-five child mortality on the global scene, over the past few decades. However, while this improvement has played out a bit in Nigeria, such cannot be said about newborn deaths.
“Records show that at least seven million babies are born in Nigeria each year. Unfortunately, 240,000 of these deaths die in their first month of life, including 94,000 that tragically die on the same day at birth. This is totally unacceptable,’’ she said.
While social and community-based determinants of health such as age of the mother, antenatal education, poverty, mother’s literacy and religious and traditional beliefs still affect newborn survival in Nigeria, Mrs Saraki said it was crucial that cost effective and innovative solutions geared towards newborn health be implemented.
She, however, assured that WBFA will continue to work with other stakeholders like NISONM to enshrine best practices that can improve newborn survival in Nigeria.
Considering the challenges plaguing our healthcare system in Nigeria, including the high rate of maternal and neonatal deaths,  Saraki urged that the role of midwives should also be considered in improving survival of newborns in Nigeria.