By Tunji Adedeji Owerri
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) said decried the rate of maternal mortality in the South Eastern Nigeria, stressing that the situation has resulted in high number of orphans in the region.
The Imo State Director of NOA, Mr Vitus Ekeocha stated this at a Community Governance Forum on Essential Family Practices for people of Okigwe Zone of the state yesterday.
Ekeocha disclosed that the agency was engaging community stakeholders including town union presidents, youth and women leaders in the fight against measles, meningitis and other child killer diseases.
He identified some of the common essential family practices to include cleanliness, hand washing, full immunization of children, open defecation, prevention of mother to child HIV infections, oral hydration and sleeping under insecticide treated nets.
The Imo NOA boss said the forum was to get the concerned stakeholders involved in the dissemination of information on child/ mother survival from measles, meningitis and pregnancy related issues, stressing that all were aimed at reducing infant morbidity and maternal mortality.
In his word, “the National Demographic Survey identified the South East Zone of the country as having more orphaned children than other parts of the federation.
“The issue on how can children from age 0 to 5 survive is the main focus of this forum. The town union leaders, the youths and women are supposed to give credence to the discussion on this issue in their various meetings and put all that will be discussed today into practice.”
Also speaking, Mrs Margaret Ayoka, Director Primary Healthcare in the State Ministry of Health said exclusive breastfeeding leads to bonding between mother and child and keeps the child healthy because of its colostrum content that helps fight childhood disease.
Ayoka added that vaccine immunization of children helps to guide against 13 killer diseases, boost immune system of children and should be given to them from day one.
She finally harped on the need for routine anti- natal care for pregnant women and urged husbands and leaders of the communities to encourage women to attend hospitals and health centres for their pre and post anti- natal care.