A week of care for mother and baby
The Optimized Maternal Newborn campaign in Cross River state, supported by UNICEF, aims to improve maternal and child health through essential services and supplies, targeting a significant number of pregnant women and children to reduce mortality rates.
Ikwo Joseph Edward, a mother of twelve months, two weeks old twin girls in Cross River state dressed up her babies and brought them to the flag off ceremony of the UNICEF supported first round of Optimized Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (oMNCHW).
Ikwo said, “I am happy to always present my children to benefit from available health services.
“I was very excited hearing of the oMNCHW campaigns on the radio, requesting all mothers to bring their babies to the health centre. I brought my twin girls who are within the age range required so they can participate”. Ikwo said.
MNCH Week (MNCHW) is a week-long event organized by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), State Primary Health Care Development agencies, and the State Ministries of Health, in collaboration with partners. The week delivers an integrated package of highly cost-effective and curative services/interventions such as - antenatal care, a package of preventive nutrition services and immunization to strengthen the routine primary health care services.
Poor women in remote areas are least likely to receive adequate health care in Cross River state. This year, UNICEF, the State Ministry of Health Cross River and other development partners are conducting the first round of oMNCHW, to complement, the routine health services and improve maternal and child health and reduce maternal and child mortality.
During this round of oMNCHW, nearly 235,641 pregnant women and 1,700,000 children 6-59 months will receive the essential health services provided by the Ministry of Health in Cross River state with assistance from UNICEF and Nutrition International. The health services include distribution of free insecticide treated bed nets, routine immunization, Vitamin A supplementation, deworming tablets, iron folic acid for pregnant women among others.
Today, I and other mothers, received health education on personal hygiene and about how a mother should take care of her baby and how a pregnant woman should protect herself from disease,” Ikwo added.
“Apart from the breastfeeding education during the antenatal visits, a lot was said about breastfeeding today and I am encouraged to continue with exclusively breastfeeding my future children until they are 6 months old”, Ikwo said,
oMNCHW complements routine health services by ensuring that basic health care reaches all mothers and children. The services and supplies provided, among others, are Vitamin A supplements, routine immunization, deworming tablets, screening for malnutrition – and long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.
Vitamin A helps in maintaining a healthy immune system and is important for growth and development of the child. This year alone, in the 8 states covered by UNICEF Field Office, Enugu, the Maternal Newborn Child Health Week targets 7,155,039 million (Seven million, one hundred and fifty-five, thousand, thirty-nine) children, with Vitamin A supplements, provided by UNICEF said Mrs. Ngozi Onuora, Nutrition specialist UNICEF Nigeria.