Abuja - The Federal Government has unveiled a new policy
aimed at preventing newborn deaths and stillbirths in the country by the year
The policy is tagged “The Nigeria Every Newborn Action Plan,
Essential Newborn Care’’ core course training package.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, unveiled the
documents while commemorating the 2016 World Prematurity and Pneumonia Day on
Thursday in Abuja.
Adewole also inaugurated the National Strategy for Scale-up
of Chlorhexidine in Nigeria 2016.
Chlorhexidine is an antibacterial used as an antiseptic and
for other applications.
He explained that the National Chlorhexidine Scale-up
Strategy document highlights government’s drive to ensure that four per cent
Chlorhexidine gel is readily available and used across the country for
umbilical cord care.
According to him, the Essential Newborn Care Course (ENCC)
training package was developed based on a combination of documented evidences
about newborn health in Nigeria and global best practices.
He added that ENCC conveys the national recommended
standards for use at all levels of healthcare delivery by decision-makers,
programme managers and development partners for capacity building of frontline
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“The Nigeria Every Newborn Action Plan would serve as a
roadmap that focuses on packages of interventions.
“It aimed at addressing care during labour, around birth and
the first week of life, as well as care for small and sick newborn babies,’’ he
The minister said the 2016 edition of the world pneumonia
day was observed on Nov. 12, while the world Prematurity day was marked on Nov.
“The days are set aside to raise awareness on the global
burden of pre-term birth and pneumonia with a view to reposition the issue on
“The days are aimed at increasing awareness and buying-in on
current cost effective interventions which will help to address issues on
relating to pre-term birth and pneumonia.
“As a country, we thought it is strategic to combine the
commemoration of these two days this year because they linked as prematurity is
a major risk factor for neonatal pneumonia,’’ Adewole said.
According the minister, an estimated 871,000 babies born
prematurely or preterm every year in Nigeria, babies born too soon have high
risk death than the babies born at term.
Adewole said pneumonia follows closely neonatal causes as
the next largest cause of under-five mortality and is the leading single
disease cause of under-five deaths in Nigeria.
Pneumonia majorly affects the marginalised and the poorest
children, accounting for 18 per cent of the cause of deaths in under-five
He said: “In Nigeria, about one million deaths among
children annually and more than 2,500 children per day under the age of five
suffering from complications resulting from pneumonia.’’
He renewed the ministry’s resolve to reduce preventable
deaths of the newborns and children in the country.
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