Gombe: Population Commission conducts survey on deaths in children

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

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The National Population Commission says it is conducting Verbal and Social autopsy Survey in Gombe State, seeking to obtain data to determine the causes and contributory factors to deaths in children between the ages of zero and five.

The objectives of the survey include the provision of up to date information on early child mortality rate, estimate the prevalence, determination of cultural/behavioural/social and health system factors of neonatal death of a live-born, infant and under five mortality.

Speaking during the flag-off of the survey in Gombe, the Federal Commissioner of the National Population Commission in Gombe State, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed Danburam, said the commission was strategically prepared and committed to generate the needed data to aid planning in the health sector.

Mallam Danburam said all necessary steps had been put in place for the successful implementation of the survey, by making use of the 2018 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey households.

He urged states and local government officials, security agencies, traditional rulers, religious and community leaders to give all necessary support to the ongoing Verbal and Social autopsy survey in the country.

Mallam Danburam said the survey was the second in the series conducted by the National Population Commission, the first was in 2014 and sought to assist policy makers with reliable data to plan and formulate policies for the health sector in relation to maternal and child health in Nigeria.

“The quantitative team will focus more on response from care givers in the households, while the qualitative team will focus on group discussions and in-depth interview within the community in addition to the household interview. While the National Population Commission will handle the quantitative component of the study, the University of Lagos will be handling the quantitative aspect of the 2019 VASA Survey.

Based on the reported cases of the under five deaths per state, 15 teams made up of 4 to 6 individuals were selected to move round the country for data collection exercise that began on October 19, 2019 and will last till December 18, 2019. Under five mortality in Nigeria is very high, with an average of 132 deaths per 1000 births. What needs stating is that every available tool must  deployed to combat and curb the menace in our society. This therefore brings us to the determination of neonatal, infant and child mortality in Nigeria,” said Mallam Danburam.

The Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission in Gombe said the most common causes of neonatal deaths include: pre-term birth (Early Birth), births asphyxia ( a child not breathing or crying at birth) are several infections, such as septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis. Other causes are tetanus and malformation, just to mention a few. In addition are religious beliefs, socio-cultural practices, age and education of mother, socio-economic, social status of household, illness recognised, quality of care and health system factors.

Mallam Danburam said the 2019 VASA Survey would be in two sets of qualitative and quantitative teams.

The quantitative team will focus more on response from care givers in the households, while the qualitative team will focus on group discussions and in-depth interview within the community in addition to the household interview. While the National Population Commission will handle the quantitative component of the study, the University of Lagos will be handling the quantitative aspect of the 2019 VASA Survey,” he said.

Mallam Danburam said the programme began on October 19 to December 18, 2019 and that based on the reported cases of the under five deaths per state, there were 15 teams made up of 4 to 6 individuals, who were selected to move round the country to collect data.

He said under five mortality in Nigeria was very high, with an average of 132 deaths per 1000 births, hence the urgency to deploy every available tools to combat and curb the menace in every Nigerian society.