By Julie Ekong
A report by the Multiple Indication Cluster Survey, MICS 2017, says infant mortality in Oyo State is 59 out of 1000 births, which is high, compared to other Southwest States.
This means, both infant and under-five mortality rates in Oyo state are higher than normal.
It is an indication of the attitude of some parents to the health status of Zero to five years children.
It is no longer news that the nutritional status of Nigerians is poor , but it is more worrisome that the health status of breastfeeding mothers and children are in danger.
This condition has made Oyo State to be a beneficiary for a programme called, Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria ANRIN, aimed at checking the trend, with the State being only donee in the south west.
The revelation from the research by the Federal Ministry of Health and the World Bank is daunting.
Interaction with a cross section of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers by Radio Nigeria shows that, they neither register early for Antenatal nor believe that it is necessary.
Many lactating mothers do not have the knowledge of how to position their babies properly during breastfeeding and do not give the right nutritional foods after six months of exclusive breastfeeding.
According to a Nutrition Officer, Mrs. Olawunmi Fayemi, when a child is mismanaged from birth, such child becomes sickly and malnourished.
” The rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Oyo State now is put at 49.5% which is unacceptably low. We promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then we teach the mothers complementary feeding ”
Some expectant mothers gave reasons for registering late to include, not getting sick, lack of incentives and advice by peer group.
One of them, Mrs Rose Emmanuel says “nothing happen to me, that was why I registered late, the first time I went to Adeoyo, they told her that I should come and register when I am five months ”
Another Lady, “Mrs Iyajoye Arowolo, said, “I normally register when I am seven months ”
Buttressing what the women said, a Nurse and the Office – in – Charge, Oranyan Primary Health care Centre, Mrs Adefunmi Aremu said, although pregnant women do visit the Centre, most of them register for Antenatal very late.
” If you asked them why they chose to register late, they respond saying they have no reason to since they’re fine.
According to her, the women do not think it is necessary because they believe they’re fine but the health workers always advice them against it ”
On his part, the Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Consultant Facilitator for UNICEF Ibadan, Oyo State, Mr Tari Akwandara, blamed the situation on inadequate information, lack of political will to provide the necessary medication needed, low funding, and non implementation of national strategic plan on health by health workers.
” This year, UNICEF is supporting states to domesticate the state Emergency Action Plan. The action plan is to ensure that all new muns survive, all required health equipments and capacity building needs to be done. Funding related issues are to be taken care of and UNICEF has done one for Oyo State already “.
However, it is not all bad news as development partners such as UNICEF and the World Health Organisation led by the Federal Government have been working tirelessly to change the narrative.
The introduction of another programme called “Progressing Action on Resilience System In Nutrition Through innovation and Partnership, PARSINTIP”, is one of such interventions.
In tackling the menace, It is necessary for expecting mothers to change their mind set about pregnancy and seeking care at the right places