Imo State Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, says the state government is committed to health care and welfare of women, expectant mothers and children.
Okorocha made this commitment at the flag-off ceremony of the second round of 2017 Maternal New Born and Child Health Week (MNCHW) held at Mbaitoli Local Government area of Imo.
The programme, which commenced on February 19 to end on February 23, would cut across the 27 local government areas of the state.
Okorocha, who was represented by his wife, Mrs Nkechi Okorocha, said the programme was in partnership with international donor agencies.
He said it would involve free medical care and treatment of mothers and children in the 27 local government areas.
“This government is passionate about the health of the Imo people. This government is concerned about the activities going on in the health centres and would always cater for the health needs of the people,” he said.
The governor urged women to always get correct information and drugs on their health needs.
He commended the staff of ministry of health and partner agencies for their efforts at ensuring the well being of people of the state and urged them not to relent.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Angela Uwakwem, said that MNCH week was a primary health care strategy to accelerate child survival and development with the ultimate goal of reducing child mortality.
She said the exercise would involve the administration of Vitamin A supplement and nutrition screening to children from six months to 59 months of age and de-worming of children from one year to five years.
The commissioner said others would be routine immunisation vaccination to children less than one who had not completed their routine immunisation schedule, counseling on appropriate infant feeding practices and surveillance, ante natal care, HIV testing and counseling, among others.
“MNCHW is a regular event organised to deliver an integrated package of preventive services known to be highly cost-effective for improving maternal and child health and survival that are run in conjunction with routine services at health facilities,” she said.
Uwakwem said that the ministry was also collaborating with the National Population Commission to implement birth registration of children less than five years along with other health interventions during the exercise.
She said that the state had never missed any round since the inception of MNCHW in 2010 and had recorded successes, adding that the state was poised to repeat the success story in the implementation of the second round of the 2017 exercise.
She advised parents with children less than five years to go to health centres nearest to them within the week to receive maternal and newborn child interventions.
The commissioner said the programme was in collaboration with federal, state and local governments with assistance of partner agencies and NGOs.
She said that enough quantity of vit A supplements had been provided by UNICEF, while Vitamin Angels, an NGO, People to People International (PTPI) Imo chapter and others were providing other drugs.
The UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Ibrahim Conteh, said that during the week pregnant women would receive insecticide treated nets, ante-natal care, family planning counsel, ante-malarial drugs, while the children would receive de-worming tablets aside vitamin A.
He said the period would provide ample opportunity for community members to obtain full information on key household practices such as breast feeding, complementary feeding and hand washing.
Conteh advised health workers to train people on the prevention and control of communicable diseases such as malaria, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/Aids.