Special Reports

Union trains health workers on infant mortality reduction

The Union of National African Paediatric Societies and Associations (UNAPSA) and Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) has begun training of doctors and nurses on neonatal resuscitation and anaesthetic.

The President of PAN, Mrs Ngozi Ibeziako, made this known at a UNAPSA-PAN pre-conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

Ibeziako said that the programme was being organised for nurses and doctors in some FCT hospitals.

She said that the training was aimed at sharpening the skills of healthcare providers to enable them to save new-born with asphyxia.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that birth asphyxia is the inability of new-born to cry immediately after birth due to lack of oxygen before, during or after delivery.

NAN reports that the theme of the triennial conference of UNAPSA and Annual General Meeting and Scientific Session of PAN is “Insurgency, deprivation and Inequality on the African Child’’.

Ibeziako, who decried the rate of neonatal mortality in the country as a result of birth asphyxia, said that the training would reduce the burden, as healthcare providers would be well-equipped with requisite skills to tackle the challenge.

The president, who identified first cry after birth as crucial in a child’s life, said that if the challenge was not addressed in time, it would have negative effects on the brain and development of the child.

Ibeziako said that the union had trained community extension workers at the primary healthcare level in Gwagwalada as part of the conference.

She hoped that the training would boost the workers’ skills to assist new-born to breathe when faced with the challenge few seconds or minutes after birth, due to low heart beat among others.

“We found out that one of the major causes of neonatal mortality in the country is birth asphyxia, a situation where a baby does not cry at birth.

“That first cry is very important, and if a baby fails to cry at birth, it is the beginning of another problem; the brain is affected and other parts of the body.

“We are building the capacities for them to be able to effectively resuscitate babies so that we do not end up having a medically challenged population when they eventually survive,’’ Ibeziako said.

Ibeziako, who frowned at the ranking of Nigeria as the second highest with under five years’ mortality, after India, described the rating as unacceptable.

She said that the union was worried at the ranking, and initiated the training to reduce the burden.