No fewer than 25 Community Health Extension Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants have been trained on hygiene promotion towards ending neonatal deaths in primary healthcare centres in Kwali, FCT.
The training, carried out by the Golden Change for Concerned Youth Forum, a non-governmental organization (NGO), is also aimed at equipping the health workers with the knowledge to prevent infections that may occur during childbirth.
The NGO’s President, Mr Williams Ngwakwe, expressed worry over continued report of new cases of infections in the area council, saying this ought not to be so.
According to him, reports from UNICEF and other development partners reveal that Nigeria contributes highly to global child deaths, following India and Pakistan with larger populations.
“We have trained community health extension workers and traditional birth attendants to build their knowledge and capacity to provide services to pregnant women to reduce neonatal infections during childbirth.
“You will agree with me that nearly 70 per cent of infants’ deaths occur within the first month of life, largely due to infections.
“When hygiene is not promoted, infections occur and when infections spread, most especially at among neonatal can lead to deaths.
“We need to do everything to end maternal and child deaths, sadly, most newborn in Kwali area council are exposed to poor hygienic conditions in their first few days of life’’.
Ngwakwe noted that during the COVID-19 era, hygiene promotion played a critical role to halt continuous spread, saying hygiene promotion is key towards providing services in the health centres.
He added that they were also trained on construction of `Tippy Taps’, a hand washing facility using locally sourced material from their communities, and received hygiene materials like liquid soap, toiletries etc.
The president said the intervention, under the Strategic Innovative Health Acceleration Project (SIHAP), was implemented with support from Child Health Foundation USA.
Earlier, Ms. Ruth During, a Hygiene promotion expert, said the critical role that personal hygiene plays cannot be over emphasised.
She emphasised the need for adherence to hand washing at critical times, such as; before and after eating, when changing a baby’s diaper and after using the toilets.
She also spoke about the importance of effective disposal of hospital waste and why access to water is important in all healthcare facilities.