. ‘3,152 under-five deaths, 101,159 stunted recorded’
Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government has expressed concern over issues bordering on infant mortality rate, antenatal coverage, HIV testing, immunisation, nutrition, maternal health, among others in the state.
Commissioner for Health, Dr Newton Igwele, expressed the concern on Friday in Yenagoa after receiving the Bayelsa Reproductive Maternal Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Scorecard for third quarter of 2020, presented by state team in collaboration with the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
He said the scorecard was an eye-opener that the state still had a lot to do in the area of healthcare delivery.
He said from the scorecard, it was noticed that all the poor healthcare indicators were tied to one thing – maternal care, saying that the state government would do all within its power to cater to the needs of the mothers to change the narrative.
Igwele said, “From the scorecard, everything on nutrition shows that we are not doing enough. So, we need to strengthen it. In immunization, we are also not doing enough. The parameters show that we are on track in the area of tackling malaria.
“However, the situation is like joint demands. They are all tied to one thing – the maternal health. If we tackle the mothers, it will positively impact the other areas. Maternal care coverage is poor and we need to tackle it. We need to improve the number of mothers attending clinics and by so doing, we will improve our health care delivery.”
Director, Planning Research and Statistics, state Ministry of Health, Dr Beatrice Olomiete, while presenting the Bayelsa RMNCAH scorecard, quoted the National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS) as saying that Bayelsa recorded no fewer than 3,152 under-five deaths and 101,159 stunted children in 2018.
According to her, 32 in 1000 children under five years died and 20 per cent of children under the same age bracket had stunted growth.
Olomiete said in the area of antenatal care, only three local governments of Ekeremor, Nembe and Yenagoa made progress while the remaining five LGAs of Brass, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Sagbama and Southern Ijaw were not on track.
She said two LGAs of Ekeremor and Yenagoa recorded 71 and over 90 per cent, respectively in HIV testing in antenatal care coverage, while the remaining six councils fared poorly.
She, however, said there was a great improvement across all the LGAs in the area of malaria care.
Olomiete said the scorecard indicated that all the LGAs recorded poor scores in immunization against Hepatitis B.
In the area of nutrition, such as exclusive breastfeeding and Vitamin A, she said it was an absymal failure as none of the women in the eight councils recorded up to 25 per cent.
Also speaking, UNICEF facilitator, Dr Eghe Abe, said the beauty of the scorecard was to showcase what the state had done.
Abe said the scorecard is a Bayelsa State tool for self-improvement, stressing that UNICEF was not going to present it for comparison with other states.
“The scorecard is not a national thing but the state’s own. It is what the programme officers can use to monitor performance of their various programmes in order to improve areas that are not doing fine,” he stated.