By Philip Yatai

The Kaduna State Commissioner for Health,  Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, says neonatal, infant, maternal and children under-five years mortality is declining in the state.

She stated this on Tuesday in Kaduna at a one-day Roundtable Dialogue on maternal and child health, organised by Maternal and Child Health-Civil Society (MCH-CS) Partnership.

Mohammed-Baloni, who was represented by Dr Sunday Joseph, the Director, Planning Research and Statistics in the ministry, explained that neonatal mortality has reduced from 63 per 1,000 live births in 2018 to 47 in 2021.

The commissioner added that infant mortality has also reduced from 97 per 1,000 live births in 2018 to 52 per 1,000 live births in 2021.

She also said that the mortality of children under five years had also reduced in the state from 187 per 1,000 live births in 2018 to 127 per 1000 live births in 2021.

She equally said that the percentage of maternal deaths has consistently reduced from 17 per cent in 2015 to 10 per cent in 2021.

“Antenatal Care (ANC) 1 has also increased from 17.5 per cent in 2016 to 85.3 per cent in 2021 above the national rate of 69.6 per cent.

“ANC 2 also increased from 43.8 per cent in 2016 to 72.3 per cent in 2021, while skilled birth attendance increased from 26.5 in 2018 to 42.7 per cent in 2021.

“Also, Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (MCPR) equally increased from 13.7 per cent in 2018 to 19.1 per cent in 2021, while postnatal care increased from 36.7 in 2016 to 55.1 in 2021.

“Similarly, PENTA 3 immunisation equally increased from 29.5 per cent to 60 per cent in 2021,” the commissioner said.

Attributing the giant stride to increased investment in the sector and support from development partners, the commissioner thanked MCH-CS for organising the event.

She described the dialogue as very “crucial” to review performance in various interventions in the health sector, which would enable the government and civil society to address identified gaps in service delivery.

“It is my hope that the engagement will enable us to find ways to improve health interventions to residents of the state, particularly women and children and the poor and vulnerable in hard-to-reach communities,” she said.

Earlier, Mrs Dorcas Adeyemi, Chairperson, Maternal and Child Health-Civil Society Partnership (MCH-CS), said that the objective of the dialogue was to share updates on key mandates and programmes of selected health agencies.

Adeyemi added that the meeting was to share understanding on the critical roles of civil society in promoting quality Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services and accountability in the state.

“This will help us share areas of collaboration in relation to MNCH advocacy and accountability in Kaduna State,” she said.

Also speaking, Mr Abel Adejor, State Team Facilitator, Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn, PERL, lauded the initiative, stressing that such partnership would strengthen service delivery in the health sector.

Adejor said that the different accountability mechanisms in the state have in the last two weeks engaged gubernatorial candidates in the state on issue-based campaigns.

He said that during the engagement supported by PERL, the mechanisms presented their demands, including health issues to the candidates for consideration into their campaign manifesto.

He pledged PERL’s commitment to supporting the citizens and the government agencies to improve service delivery in the health sector.

A member of MCH-CS, Dr Suleiman Tanko, said that Civil Society Organisations have a critical role to play in the promotion and implementation of maternal and child health programmes in the state.

“CSOs stimulate change through strengthening and holding government institutions and decision makers accountable.

“They are, therefore, crucial to getting the state to deliver quality MNCH interventions in the state,” he said. (NAN)