Chief (Mrs) Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, the wife of the Ondo State Governor, has on Wednesday 13th of October 2021, launched the Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival (AMCS) programme as part of her activities to complement the efforts of the governor in giving the people of the state a quality healthcare services.
The programme, which was launched at the Government House Grounds, Akure, is geared towards reducing maternal and child deaths, facilitating child immunisation and family planning to be repeated across the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo State.
In her speech obtained by the press, Mrs Anyanwu pointed out that most of the maternal deaths experienced today are a result of complications arising from severe bleeding and infections after childbirth, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia as well as unsafe abortions.
“Is it not that a woman can not decide if she wants more children or not but most women have to secretly get a family plan moves method. A woman knows fully well that if her husband becomes aware, she is in big trouble. Women need to get the consent of their husbands, a lot of whom do not even care about their wives’ wellbeing before they can uptake health care services, caesarean section and many others.
This is unacceptable. If the woman dies from complications arising from not receiving these services, the man simply moves on and gets himself another wife. How sad! This is the reality of a country called Nigeria. We should therefore work to ensure that women and children are protected.”
She added that pregnancy was a natural process that should bring about celebration and not sorrow. She expressed her sadness that Nigeria is ranked amongst countries with the highest maternal mortality in the world.
More so, she stressed that a sizable proportion of these incidents could have been avoided if pregnant women completed their antenatal care contact and had their babies 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 the pregnant women in Nigeria receive antenatal care more than four times.”
Furthermore, she noted that the statistics are appalling for child immunization as child immunization increases the chances of child survival by almost 33%, yet, only 23% of children under 5 receive the full dosage of child immunizations in Nigeria.
Mrs Akeredolu affirmed that misconceptions take advantage of a major role in the low uptake of childhood immunization now being experienced in Nigeria.
“Although Ondo State fares better in these statistics, we still experience poor maternal and child health outcomes when compared with developed nations and 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. We need to work to ensure all myths surrounding immunization, family planning and caesarean section are debunked.
To do this, we need to adopt community-led programming, which is what the Solayo Vanguard is all about. Now we have respectable women in communities who have been trained and will volunteer as Solayo Vanguards to function using referral booklets to identify, mentor and refer pregnant women within their jurisdiction to ensure the pregnant women go for antenatal care at least four times and have institutional delivery.
Since they are respected and trusted, they will also work to desensitize mothers from the misconceptions on child immunization and remind them of their children’s immunization days.”
She praised the Solayo Vanguards as the real VIPs and the foot soldiers who make the dreams a reality and the link between women in the community and the health facility.
“We need you to mentor and refer pregnant women within your jurisdiction to ensure the pregnant women go for antenatal care at least four times and have institutional delivery.
We need you to bridge the family planning gap and help 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. I am encouraging you to keep up the good work, you are a light for many and you should be proud of yourself.”
The First Lady expressed delight at the launching of the Accelerated Maternal and Child Survival Program (AKA Solayo Vanguard), which she characterized as a great step in the right direction.
“As you all know, I am a strong advocate for women and children’s health. This is because I believe women and children in an underdeveloped and patriarchal Nigeria could be classified as vulnerable groups as they bear the brunt of our poor socio-cultural system.”
At the takeoff event, the First Lady distributed SOLAYO kits to some pregnant women.
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