It was a carnival-like atmosphere at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, Osogbo, as the government of the State of Osun flagged-off a four-in-one programme of health activities embarked upon by the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The four-in-one programme is a combination of sensational events which includes; Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results; December edition of the Maternal Newborn and Child Healthcare Week; Sustainable Development Goals and distribution of 12,500 Mama kits for pregnant women in the state.
In his address, the governor harped on the need for family planning amongst parents in the state.
His advocacy was based on the fact that Nigeria with a population of 193 million people was on the brink of population explosion.
According to him, “in the next few years, Nigeria with a population of 193 million people will be the 3rd most populated country in the world after China and India.
“In order to help control the level of population growth which is fast overtaking the resources available to cater for such growth, government should encourage family planning to achieve optimum development”.
Aregbesola made it known that no religion kicked against family planning, as it is a worlwide phenomena that the rate of population growth globally was unprecedented.
He also stated that as part of the efforts of his government towards encouraging family planning, he was distributing 12,500 Mama Kits for pregnant women all over the state.
Meanwhile, in a bid to boost health of its citizens, the Aregbesola administration has embarked on the repair of health centres spread across the state and ensured that free health care is the bedrock of the government’s health policy.
In his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu stated that the ‘Save One Million Lives Programme for Results’ was a federal government programme supported by the World Bank which focuses on maternal and child health.
He said: “About 900,000 children and mothers die every year in Nigeria largely from preventable diseases. The Save One Million Lives Programme for Results (SOML PforR) is designed to drive the institutional process needed in saving mothers and children from avoidable deaths.
“The programme is designed to catalyse change in the way health business is done by focusing on results rather than the inputs”.
Isamotu revealed that the aim of SOML PforR was to promote competition in the day to day activities, assuring that the programme would be used to rate the performance of health workers and facilities.
He also revealed that an award for the best performing health facility and the best performing local government in the state had been instituted.
“SOML PforR was also to objectively increase the utilisation and high quality impact reproductive, child health and nutrition interventions”, he stressed.
For the Maternal Newborn and Childcare Week (MNCHW), he said communities would be utilised as a means of incurring coverage of simple, but effective, positive interventions such as childhood immunisation, vitamin A supplementation, nutrition assessment and de-worming.
“During the MNCHW, health workers from public health facilities are expected to visit remote villages to provide these basic health services. Communities living closer to these health facilities are expected to visit the health facilities nearest to them to receive these services.
“MNCHW is a weeklong activity, conducted twice a year, aimed at strengthening the routine services at health facilities while harnessing the excitement and energy of a campaign”.
The Commissioner maintained that MNCHW represented an opportunity to increase demand for preventive and primitive services and also to bring services closer to communities, thereby yielding quick wins in terms of immunisation and vitamin A coverage.
“The achievements of SOML PforR in the state according to Isamotu include; repair of cold chain system to aid immunisation programmes; support LLINs replacement campaign in the state and the routine distribution of LLINs; training of health workers on modern daily family planning methods, malaria eradication campaign and skilled birth attendance.
Others are; “Provision of HIV test kit to all the primary healthcare facilities towards Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) of HIV; procurement of Mama Kits for distribution to health facilities; integration of supportive supervision to the health facilities towards ensuring quality service delivery.
“The essence of the Mama kits is to encourage pregnant women to deliver in public health facilities across the state so as to ensure their safe delivery. This will go a long way in preventing Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)”.
In respect of the matching order given for the establishment of the State Health Insurance Scheme to ensure achieving Universal Health Coverage and reduce pocket expenditure in health, Isamotu assured the Governor that the assignment would be fulfilled with the birth of the State Health Insurance Agency before the end of 2017.
He also thanked the Governor for his doggedness in ensuring the birth of the state Primary Health Care Development Board which has brought all the Primary Health Centres in the state under one roof.