Maternal, Child Mortality: UNICEF, EU-MNCHN Intervention Life Saver for Kebbi – Village Head
By Uangbaoje Alex, Birni Kebbi
Village Head of Mahuta, Fakai Local Government Area of Kebbi State, Alhaji Falke Anama, has said that the European Union – Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition intervention project is a life saver for his community.
Anama said that the maternal and child mortality had been on the downward trend since the introduction of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and European Union – Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition Project in 2016.
Speaking with journalists at his palace who were in the community to assess the impact of the project on Thursday, the traditional leaders said the intervention helped the community to witness an impressive reduction of maternal and child deaths in the last three years.
Using the data from the Community Information Board, the traditional leader, particularly shows the continues decline of deaths being recorded among pregnant women and children under five years in the community.
“The number of maternal and child mortality was between 10 and 15 every quarter in this community prior to the UNICEF and EU-MNCHN project.
“But as you can see, the deaths of pregnant women have drastically reduced from three between January and March to two between April and June 2019 and further declined to one from July to date.
“Similarly, the number of deaths among children under five years had equally continue to decline from an average of 10 to between one and five in a quarter.
“For example, in 2019 the number reduced from five in the first quarter of 2019 to three in the second quarter and down to two in the third quarter,” he said.
According to him, the decline was as a result of the increase in the proportion of poor, marginalised, rural women and children under-five years accessing high impact health and nutrition intervention.
He explained the EU-MNCHN project have improved the quality of health services and strengthen community structures that increased demand for health and nutrition services.
He added that Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in the community have been trained under the project and were mobilising community members to access health, immunisation and birth registration among other services.
One of the TBAs, Mrs Fatima Nakaulaha told NAN that they were moving from house to house, sensitising and linking pregnant women, parents and care givers to health facilities.
“We go as far as talking to husbands on the need to allow their wives access health services, particularly pregnant women and mothers of children under five years.
“We do not only refer them to health facilities, we equally track defaulters to ensure that no one is left behind,” she said.
The MNCHN Coordinator in the LGA, Mrs Balkisu Usman, equally said that the TBAs have contributed significantly in improving antenatal care attendance, immunisation and other crucial health and nutrition services.
Similarly, the Nutrition Focal Person of the LGA, Mrs Aisha Mijinyawa, also commended UNICEF and EU for supporting nutrition intervention to check against malnutrition in the area.
She said: “The EU-MNCHN project is supporting us in both preventive and curative nutrition interventions through infant and young child feeding counselling, provision of Micro-Nutrients Powder and community management of acute malnutrition.”
The Facility-in-Charge, Model Primary Healthcare Centre, Mahuta, Mr Garba Sarkinfawa, also said that the demand for antenatal and postnatal care, deliveries, immunisation and other services have increased in the facility over the years.