Stephanie Linus Takes ‘Dry’ To UN General Assembly

In continuation of her advocacy on maternal health issues in West Africa, filmmaker and UNFPA Ambassador Stephanie Linus recently joined other world leaders, policy makers and key stakeholders for strategic meetings at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly held in New York, USA.

This high profile event, which was graced by world leaders, including United States of America President Donald Trump, and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations comprising of 193 Member States.

In her capacity as the UNFPA Ambassador for Maternal Health in West and Central Africa, Mrs Linus has reaffirmed her commitment to ending Fistula by mobilizing the support and commitment needed to rid the world of Fistula once and for all. The actress also recorded another milestone, as her advocacy movie on fistula awareness, DRY, was screened at one of the events in an audience comprising of several African leaders, first ladies, health experts and policy makers.

Source: The Guardian

Camphor, Methylated Powder Cause Jaundice In Newborns – Expert

A neonatologist, Prof. Angela Okolo, has warned parents of newborn babies against the use of camphor, menthol, methylated dusting powder and other such substances, saying this could result in jaundice.

Okolo, who works at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, gave the advice in Ibadan.

She said that jaundice remains one of the leading killers of newborns in the country.“Neonatal jaundice is a leading cause of hospitalization in the first week of life in Nigeria.It is also a major contributor to neonatal mortality and long-term morbidity, if not detected early and properly managed.

The cause of jaundice is excess bilirubin; a waste product produced when red blood cells are broken down.

Many factors like breast milk, sickle cell anaemia, low birth weight and prematurity have implicated the development of jaundice. However, we are seeing cases of jaundice caused by other things like unhygienic practices of the mothers and health workers, infections, the use of things like camphor, Robb, mentholatum and dusting powder on the babies. These things predispose babies to jaundice by breaking down the red blood cells of the baby.

The more the red blood cells are broken down, the higher the bilirubin comes up, and this may result in brain damage if not detected early,” she said.

According to her, the lack of practical skills among health workers contributes to morbidity and mortality among newborns.

She said many mothers don’t get quality health care “a majority have their babies in community health centers, where many health workers lack newborn care skills.

A lot of these health workers ignore simple preventive measures like hand-washing.

We need the support of the media to help us raise awareness on jaundice, prevention and early signs.

We need to bring to the attention of the public that jaundice is a major infant killer,” she said.

Okolo said the health workers and mothers could monitor the babies for earliest sign of jaundice by gently pressing the baby’s chest, or a slight pinch of the nose.“Often times, we want to look at the eyeballs of the baby to detect jaundice; by the time we are noticing it in the eyes that jaundice has gone far. Whereas simple ways of detecting jaundice involves a slight pinch of the nose, a gentle press of the forehead. If there is a yellow tinge to the skin, as the pressure is released, take the baby to the hospital for proper management and treatment.

Don’t try to treat jaundice at home.Administration of pawpaw juice, early morning light and glucose water are of no value in the treatment and management of jaundice.

Late presentation to the hospital could result in brain damage,” she said.

Okolo said that other signs of jaundice include pale stool, dark urine, vomiting and high-pitched cry.


Kwara to Fight Fistula with N16 Million

The commissioner for health in Kwara State, Dr Sulaiman Alege, said about N16million was budgeted and already partly released in a bid to eradicate obstetric fistula in the state.

The Commissioner announced this during the formal opening of free fistula repairs organised by the Kwara State Government in conjunction with the EngenderHealth, implementing partners of USAID, held at Kwara State Specialist hospital, Sobi, Kwara state.

He explained that part of the money will be used to support the free fistula repair programs, adding that, the state plans to increase fistula budget line in the Kwara State 2018 supplementary budget which is already in the pipeline.

“Kwara state government is happy working in relationship with EngenderHealth in the area of intervention of fistula in the state. Last year around N10 million was budgeted for fistula in the state. This year, about N16 million has been budgeted for fistula and we have released part of the money.The pool effort is aimed at bringing women with fistula from the various communities in the state for a repair”, he said.

The Commissioner explained that the state is ripe enough to be made a proper fistula centre for the north central region with support from Engender Health Fistula Care Plus Project, and other stakeholders.

In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Alhaji Wasiu Odewale said the state is in the process of reviewing the 2017 appropriation Law and promised further support to the health sector.

Alhaji Odewale assured that the ongoing Supplementary budget process would favour increased in the budget line for fistula repairs.

Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Ayinke Saka represented by Hajia Aminah Yahya described the fistula repair exercise as women project, saying that women lost dignity as result of stigma against fistula clients.

She enjoined women to attend antenatal care regularly and deliver under the supervision of skilled birth attendants to avoid coming down with fistula.

Earlier in his remarks, the Country Project Manager, Engender Health Fistula Care Plus Project, Chief Iyeme Efem explained that the pooled effort was organised to assist fistula clients to live normal lives.

He showed appreciation for Kwara state for having a fistula desk and being one of the few states that have a budget line for fistula.

Chief Efem said the Project by USAID is supporting a number of hospitals across the country in organising pooled fistula repairs and called for government commitment to sustaining the project.


300,000 Women Die Yearly During Pregnancy, Childbirth- UNFPA

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says more than 300,000 women die annually during pregnancy and childbirth.

Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, disclosed this at the occasion of International Day of the Midwife, which honoured midwives as family ‘partners for life’.

He urged governments and development partners to expand midwifery programmes and promote an environment where midwives can effectively serve the needs of women and their families.

“Midwives save lives, support and promote healthy families, and empower women and couples to choose whether, when and how often to have children.

“They also help avert sexually transmitted infections and prevent disabilities like obstetric fistula, mother-to-child transmission of HIV and female genital mutilation.

“Each year, more than 300,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth.

“The UN also estimates that some three million babies do not survive the first month of life, and another 2.5 million are stillborn.

“Most of them could have been saved by the care of well-trained midwives within the framework of strong health systems,” Osotimehin said.

This year’s theme for the Day is ‘Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!’

Osotimehin said the Day underscored the important roles that “these women and girls have in preventing maternal and new-born deaths and empowering women to make informed, healthy choices”.

“These are critical aspects of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to alleviate poverty and assist the planet, by the 2030 deadline,” the UNFPA chief said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also reiterated the importance of midwives washing their hands and maintaining hygienic standards.

Fran McConville, Midwifery Adviser of WHO, on the occasion of the Midwifery Day, tasked midwives on hygiene, particularly hand washing.

McConville said that “hand washing and lack of water and sanitation is a fundamental constraint to quality of care.

“As midwives we must work in partnership to improve access to water, sanitation and electricity for all women and babies everywhere.

“Worldwide, 30,000 women and 400,000 babies die every year from infections, such as puerperal sepsis, often caused by lack of water, sanitation and poor hand-washing practices,” the WHO official said.

Osun First Baby: Governor’s Wife Advocates Exclusive Breastfeeding

The Wife of the Osun state Governor, Mrs Sherifat Aregbesola, wants nursing mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children to ensure proper growth and healthy living.

The first lady gave the advice on Sunday during her visit to the state government’s hospital board in Osogbo, the state’s capital to welcome the First Baby of the Year.

While congratulating the parent of the baby, Mrs Aregbesola, who was represented by the wife of the Chairman Osun State Investment Company Limited, Dr Shekinat Oyebamiji, urged the new mother and other mothers to immunise their children against polio.

” ‎Our mother, her excellency, has instructed me to admonish our women on the very importance and advantages of breast milk to children. What we call exclusive breastfeeding is giving the children breast milk only without water or supplement.

“The breast milk is natural, it is available and cheap. All the woman needs to do is to feed well and than the milk flows. When a child is breastfed, the baby has all the required nutrients that the baby needs to grow well and thrive and babies who are breastfed research has shown has a better IQ than babies who were not,” she explained.

‎“Another thing our mother said I should be sure to pass across is the importance of immunisations. This vaccines are readily available in all the health centres across Osun State at little or no cost. This makes children to be strong. It prevents some childhood diseases which can kill children before the age of five, so women should avail themselves and their children of this opportunity,” she stated.

On the issue of family planning, Mrs Oyebamiji pointed out that for a woman to be glowing and have the energy to take care of her home, her children must be spaced.

“A woman cannot be having children every year and expect to be healthy. So, we should in conjunction with our husbands plan our families. One can have children maybe once in three years, or two but having a child every year is detrimental to the woman’s health and family planning methods are readily available at little or no cost in all the health facilities across the state.

“I also want to say the parents should learn to take care of their wards be‎cause we believe that our children are our future. The state government has laid a solid foundation for education in this state, so we should leverage on this and train our children properly. It is actually for our future,” she appealed to the mothers.

The representative of the Governor’s wife further urged mothers to access family planning services at the primary health centres for adequate child-spacing and survival, to reduce infant mortality.

The baby of the year is a female child delivered at 12″01 a.m. to the family of Kajogbola Sunkanmi through normal delivery at the Government Hospital Board, Asubiaro. She weighed 3.15kg at birth.

Gifts were also presented to other mothers and their babies at the hospital.