Determined to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Edo state, Governor Godwin Obaseki has revealed plans to set up dedicated telephone lines across the state to report cases of child birth.
Obaseki who revealed that his government was working to improve health and living standards in the state, noted the telephone lines will make it possible to make immunization available for all child births recorded.
The Governor made this disclosure during the flag-off of 2017 National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs), at New Benin Market, in Benin, the state capital.
He siad: “We are commencing the implementation of the Save a Million Lives Programme in the state to ensure that maternal and infant mortality is reduced.
“We intend to set up a telephone lines to allow people report cases of childbirth, and ensure that immunisation follows for the children.
“We want to also ensure that every market has a primary health care centre with a nurse and necessary facilities and also provide water in our markets as a way of reducing health challenges.”
While addressing the market women on the importance of immunization, Obaseki urged them to get all their children immunised up to age five.
He stressed the commitment of his administration to strengthening immunisation activities as it provided a holistic approach to the prevention diseases through vaccination, thereby reducing infant and child mortality.
“I understand that the state achieved 76 percent immunisation coverage as at February this year. I want to assure you that my administration will make it 100 percent by improving health service delivery in the state,” he said.
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Ugbodaga, said that the NIPDs would complement the routine immunisation programme in the state.
Ugbodaga also revealed that the choice of flagging off the programme in a market was to ensure that no child was omitted as the health team moves from house to house.
He advised parents, especially mothers, to allow their wards receive immunisation noting that unimmunised children would predispose the state to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.
Meanwhile, the Edo Coordinator of the World Health Organisation, Mrs. Faith Ireye, has commended the state for sustaining a polio-free state for the past seven years.
She said that the Organisation would continue to collaborate with the state to ensure that children lived healthy lives.
She however called for more collective responsibility among stakeholders to ensure the eradication of polio, noting that Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan were the only three countries in the world endemic to the disease.
She disclosed that the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI), would be winding up its support for immunisation.
Mrs. Ireye called on governments to start planning on how to take responsibility of the immunisation programme.
Ireye who led representatives of development partners on a courtesy visit to Government House in Benin last weekend, said that the state was still faced with challenges in the implementation of its immunisation programmes and the management of Lassa fever.
She listed some of the challenges confronting immunisation activities in the state to include lack of counterpart funding by the state and all LGAs for immunisation activities, inadequate funds for the state vaccine cold stores and lack of impress for immunisation-surveillance activities.
Mrs. Ireye who called on the state to beef up sensitisation of the public on the outbreak of Lassa fever in some LGAs in the state, however commended the Governor for flagging off the 2017 National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) in the state as it signified the state’s commitment towards eradicating vaccine preventable diseases.
Responding, the Governor who expressed displeasure over the challenges confronting immunisation programmes in the state, pledged that his administration would leverage on the tools and approaches of WHO to get things done properly.
He revealed that the state would collaborate with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to improve the state’s health care delivery, especially for those under 15 years of age in the state.
In addition, Obaseki expressed satisfaction toward WHO, for its renewed commitment to ensuring a healthy society assuring the health body that of his administration’s goal was to revamp the state’s health system via implementation of strategic policies to eliminate waste of resources.
“We want to work with you to deal with the challenges in our health sector. I am scared that if we do not begin to address the health and education challenges of the under-15 population, which constitutes a high percentage of the state’s population, we will be endangering our future,” he said.