Nigeria: Losses 1.3 million Under Five Children, 100 Newborn to Preventable Diseases, Says UNICEF

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By: Joy Odor/Kaduna

The Chief Health of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria, Dr. Sanjana Bhardwaj has disclosed that about 1.3 million children died before attaining the age of five for preventable diseases in Nigeria, additionally loss of 100 newborn daily and 150 died within seven days of birth in Nigeria.

Dr. Bhardwaj who made the disclosure yesterday in Kano during a one-day Technical Consultative Meeting on Ending Preventable Deaths of Children in Bauchi state, worried over health indicators in Nigeria.

He added that with the frightening number of child mortality, the country ranked top in Africa and third position globally, next to India and Pakistan on preventable deaths of children alone.

Dr. Bhardwaj informed that Nigeria is one of the countries globally where children lives are at stake due to lack of basis reproductive health packages including poor Routine Immunization (RI), dysfunctional Primary health care and other mechanism to preventable child mortality.

The UNICEF Chief who posited that Bauchi State contributed large proportion to national burden child mortality occasions from preventable deaths said the State has 33 percent of newborn death and 26 percent of under five children mortality in Nigeria.

According to him, “UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data on preventable deaths of children in Bauchi state indicated 44,983 death of children under five and 11,455 newborn mortality annually. This unacceptable casualty placed Bauchi state 33 percent of newborn death and 26 percent of under five children mortality in Nigeria.

“On RI alone, Bauchi has 183,342 unimmunized children. Bauchi state is the number five state with high level of unimmunized children in Nigeria. We have the highest Kano with 370,581.

“From data collected, only 5 LGA’s out of 20, have 50 percent RI. Majority of the he LGA’s has between 25 percent and 50 percent.

“The reasons where the immunization was poor include lack of awareness, religious biased, dissatisfaction with health workers and at worst, some people still don’t belief in the immunization” Dr. Sanjana explained.

The UNICEF boss however suggested the improved reproductive health care system, structural investment, local cause of deaths and innovation.

On her part, Bauchi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Zawaira Hassan who did not deputed the findings of UNICEF pledged the state government efforts in relentless efforts on healthcare system, saying that Ministry has constituted state emergency response committee on child death and RI to tackle the challenges facing the sector.

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