It was made public by Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, in Abuja during the commemoration of World Prematurity Day 2021, which was carried out in collaboration with Save the Children International (SCI) and other NGOs.
Ehanire said that the launch of the operational guide became imperative because there was a shortage of platforms to talk to people.
According to him, the theme for this year’s Prematurity Day: “Zero Separation – Act Now! Keeping parents and babies born too early together, ” addresses the immediate need for premature babies.
He said it also closed the premium on zero separation for babies born too early away from their parents and this would increase the chances that preemies will survive and thrive.
“To mark this year’s World Prematurity Day, the Federal Ministry of Health will release three new guidelines and a training manual.
“The documents presented are: Operational Guidelines for Kangaroo Maternal Care (KMC), National Guidelines for Basic Newborn Care (NGBNC) and National Guidelines for Comprehensive Newborn Care (NGCNC).
The National Guidelines for Comprehensive Newborn Care (NGCNC) Training Manual was also launched.
“According to the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2018, the Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) is 39 deaths per 1000 live births.
“The three leading causes of neonatal death are prematurity (31%), intrapartum complications, including asphyxia at birth (31%), and sepsis (22%).
“According to the 2018 NDHS, of the 132 deaths per 1,000 live births of the under-five mortality rate, neonatal deaths contribute 32 percent,” the minister said.
Ehanire said this implied that “if we work collectively to reduce neonatal deaths that parents and babies born too early stay together or stay together, the unacceptable under-five mortality rate of 132 per 1000 births alive will improve. “
The minister also said that these babies needed a lot of love and support.
He added that World Prematurity Day was an opportunity because it aimed to raise awareness about the problems associated with premature births.
He said that he also disseminated information on how to help and support affected families.
Ifedilichukwu Innocent, Advocacy, Campaign and Policy Manager, SCI Nigeria, also praised the Ministry of Health and other partners for the giant leap in launching the guidelines.
Innocent said the importance of the guidelines meant that Nigeria now had a clear roadmap on how to train health workers and equip them with strategies to help newborns, especially premature babies.
“SCI has been working with the Federal Ministry of Health in many areas, especially in the area of newborn and child health.
“We have supported a lot of policy development like the recently concluded Children’s Health Policy and we are also part of these guidelines released today.
“In the past, we did situation analyzes to truly understand the issues on the ground and we are pleased with the progress the Ministry of Health is making in various areas,” Innocent said.
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