From Boniface Okoro, Umuahia
In a combined effort to curb child mortality in Abia State, ‘Inspire Hope Foundation” (IHF) comprising of a United States of America-based medical team led by Nigerian-born Dr Chinyere Anyaogu, and the Abia State Adviser to the Governor on Diaspora Matters and Special Duties, Dr Ngozi Ogbonna-Erondu, have conducted a one-day Train-The-Trainer workshop tagged “Helping Babies Breathe” for Abia health workers selected from the state 17 Local Government Areas of the state.
Abia State Director of National Orientation Agency ( NOA), Dr Lady Ngozi Okechukwu, and the Executive Secretary of Abia State Primary Health Development Agency (ASPHDA), Dr Chinagozi Adindu, also collaborated in training the health workers on how to manage babies during and after their birth and be able to, thereafter, train others in turn.
The workshop which held at the Women Development Center, Umuahia, the state capital, featured lectures and discussions by the medical experts led by Dr. Anyaogu on many salient childbirth issues, top of which were demonstrations of how health workers should handle babies during and after birth, especially ensuring that the babies breathe well.
A resource person and Neonatologist from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Dr Ikechukwu Okonkwo, stated that if babies do not breathe well, they would have slim chances of survival, stressing that in view of Nigeria’s second position ranking in global neonatal figure and pre-birth death, Abia state ought to address the challenge and step up her anti-child mortality curbing efforts, in addition to other interventions by the state in the health sector.
Another resource person and Consultant from the Federal Medical Center, Asaba, Delta state, Professor Angela Okolo, stated that ideally, a baby should not be admitted in a medical facility in the absence of or without the mother.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of Abia State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chinagozi Adindu, said that the State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has effected numerous health interventions to improve the healthcare of Abians, including the recently commissioned modern equipped Children hospital at Umuahia, adding that plans were afoot to replicate same in the other two senatorial districts of the state.
Adindu therefore charged health workers to do all the needful to help babies breathe well while attending to them. He hinted that the training would be extended beyond the state capital.
Declaring the workshop open, Abia State Health Commissioner, Dr Joe Osuji, represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Franca Ekwuribe, said that that State government provided the enabling environment for the IHF Medical Team of experts from USA and those from outside the state to conduct the training.
The Commissioner enjoined the health worker-trainees to be more passionate as they apply the knowledge acquired after their training in their work to facilitate the reduction of child mortality rate.
The Abia NOA Director, Lady Okechukwu, who decried the reported level of child mortality, said that the training was to enable the health workers to be more active in the drive to curbing child mortality.
She tasked Nigerians at home and in the diaspora to partner government to sustain child mortality eradication efforts and commended the Inspire Hope Foundation Medical Team and other Resource Persons for coming to Nigeria and Abia State for the event despite the prevailing odds; and the Abia State Diaspora Office, for the role it played in actualizing the training.