The Lagos State government has inaugurated a comprehensive nutrition programme to tackle cognitive and learning disabilities in newborns.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu rolled out the programme tagged : Mother, Infant and Child, M.I.C.H, Initiative aimed to address nutritional needs of pregnant women across the 57 Local Government Areas, LGAs and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs.
The scheme aims to raise the level of care for expectant mothers in underserved communities throughout their pregnancy period and to support development of infants’ brains from foetus to neonatal stage, especially in the first 2,000 days said to be significant in a child’s formative stage.
The health initiative is a key component of the Womb To School Programme – a basket of social investments initiated by the Sanwo-Olu administration to facilitate human capital development and to raise socially responsible citizens from the womb through infancy, childhood, and into adulthood.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu and, Deputy Governor’s wife, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat, attended the event held at the Government Secretariat in Alausa.
The Office of the Civic Engagement is in charge of the M.I.C.H. project.
Before the initiative was fully unveiled, a pilot phase was rolled out in 11 councils, with the State Government providing nutritional foods and supplements for 3,000 indigent pregnant women.
The Governor said the initiative would take off in flagship health centres in Ikeja, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Agege, Lagos-Island, Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Somolu, Kosofe and Ibeju.
The benefitting pregnant women, he said, would also receive quality care and follow-up through home visits by a dedicated team of public and state-approved private community health workers and medical consultants.
Aside the State Government’s investment in fully-equipped Maternal and Child Centres in the last two years, Gov Sanwo-Olu said the MICH Initiative was conceived to protect infants from preventable impairment in neurological and physical development.
“We are convinced that there is no better time than now to leverage advanced technology, modern equipment and well-trained health staff to put an end to preventable maternal mortality and disabilities in infants. The process of bringing life into existence should no longer lead to the loss of another life; this is why we are initiating policies and investing in the Mother and Child Sector to ensure that we drastically reduce and eliminate maternal mortality in Lagos,”
“Our target is to reach 5,000 underprivileged pregnant women who will be selected by doctors and specialists in each primary healthcare centre across the State to access the M.I.C.H food packs that contain recommended daily nutritional composition of protein, carbohydrate, lactose, milk fat, fibre, calcium, folic acid and multi-vitamins.” the Governor said.
To access the programme, Gov Sanwo-Olu said selected beneficiaries would be issued approved M.I.C.H. Collection Cards individually for the Government to monitor the distribution of nutrient-filled supplements on a weekly basis.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said nutritious diets remained essential supplements required by an expectant mother during pregnancy, stressing that a nutrient deficient infant would go through irregular brain development. This, he said, may limit the child’s ability in adulthood.