The National Bureau of Statistics in support with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have rated Oyo, Ogun and Ekiti States high in infant mortality rates in the country, according to their statistics.
They indicated that between three and four children die within one month of delivery in the noted southwest states, describing the development as worrisome.
This came to the fore yesterday, during a two-day media dialogue on the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster (MICS) 6, organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF in partnership with the National Orientation Agency NOA, Lagos State, held at the Kakanfo Conference Centre, Ibadan Oyo State.
While speaking, a nutrition specialist, Dr. Ijeoma Agbo, advocated the need for affected states to adopt the global requirement of one primary healthcare facility per ward and make them functional.
She called on governments of those states to begin to adopt all necessary strategies to strengthen their health system towards reducing the high rate of infant and child mortality.
“Though, governments of these states have introduced various meaningful health programmes, much more still needed to be done to save the lives of new born babies,” Agbo said.
She also called for improved awareness on the need for expectant mothers to patronise health care facilities rather than faith based clinics which is a major factor responsible for the high mortality rate.
Dr. Agbo explained that though, Lagos State has the lowest rate of child mortality, noting that, there is the need for government to also do more, considering the population.
In the same vein, UNICEF Chief Management for Result, Programme and Planning (M4R) specialist, Oluwasola Olanipekun, while speaking on child marriage, said one out of ten girls get married before the age of fifteen and three out of ten boys get married before eighteen years.
Earlier in her address, the Communication Officer, UNICEF, Blessing Ejiofor, said the importance of data in reporting could not be over emphasized.
According to her, the objective of the workshop is to share with media the result of the most recent survey which would assist them to report and analyse the situation of children and women in Southwest Nigeria in an informed way that would be convincing to the public.
She noted that UNICEF expects journalists to work on data driven stories and reports that highlight challenges confronting children and women in the society.
Also in an address, the Director National Orientation Agency, NOA, Lagos, Dr. Waheed Isola, welcomed participants, urging them to pay rapt attention so as to be armed with facts and figures needed in the reportage of issues affecting children and women in the society.