By Polycarp Auta
Jos – The National Population Commission (NPopC) says it has commenced Verbal and Social Autopsy (VASA) survey aimed at addressing infant and child mortality in Plateau.
Mrs Cecilia Dapeot, Federal Commissioner representing Plateau on the NPC Board, made the disclosure at a news conference on Tuesday in Jos.
She added that the exercise would be conducted in 15 out of the 17 Local Government Areas of the state, explaining that the two councils exempted, Barkin Ladi and Langtang South recorded low infant and child mortality.
Dapeot said the survey became necessary owing to the sudden increase in the rate of deaths of children as revealed by the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted between August and December 2018.
The commissioner said the survey was being conducted by the commission in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Bureau of Statistics.
She explained that the survey would further assist policy makers to plan and formulate policies for the health sector, with a view of addressing the rising cases of maternal and child mortality in the state.
“The survey will help policy makers to ascertain the causes and determinants of under-five mortality, and provide national and zonal estimate of major causes of deaths in under-five children.
“The preliminary result is out and part of the key findings shows a slight increase in the rate of under-five mortality in the last five years.
“This prompted a swift follow up and the commission, alongside Federal Ministry of Health and the National Bureau of Statistics is embarking on another critical survey known as the verbal and social autopsy survey,’’ she said.
The commissioner said the outcome of the survey would provide the country with the data for planning to improve healthcare delivery, human capital development and curb infant and child mortality.
She explained that the survey would run between October and November, adding that a team of interviewers would visit households where deaths of children under-five were recorded in the last five years.
Dapeot called on residents of Plateau to cooperate with the interviewers in the course of the exercise.