By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
Oyo State Government has inaugurated an expanded maternal and child health care initiative known as “Tomotiya”, targeted at reducing maternal mortality by 30 per cent and neonatal mortality by 20 per cent by 2023.
Over the years, the state has been grappling with high neonatal mortality with the state recording child mortality rate of 24 deaths per 1,000 live births and infant mortality of 41 deaths per 1,000 live births.
The Tomotiya initiative is also expected to address issues of an alarming number of births attended by unskilled birth attendants, shortage of health care staff, lack of equipment in health care facilities and limited funds for healthcare financing.
Represented by his deputy, Mr Rauf Olaniyan at the launch Governor Seyi Makinde said the state with Tomotiya aimed to increase the number of births by skilled birth attendants in the state by 30 per cent while also increasing the health care facility utilization in the state to 60 per cent.
Speaking at the event held at the University of Ibadan, Makinde said his administration was poised to reverse the state’s negative statistics in maternal and infant mortality and unmet family planning needs of 30.6 per cent.
He asserted the commitment of the state government to ensuring qualitative maternal and child health services are offered at a minimal cost.
Makinde said, “From the 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), we saw that in Oyo State, the rate of a child under the age of one dying is 41 deaths per 1000 live births. That puts us as the third-worst in Nigeria after Kano and Jigawa.
“Oyo State contributes over 30percent of the total of all infant mortalities in Nigeria. There are other negative indices, but I have chosen to share just this one to show us how bad things were before we came into office. Now, we are determined to turn this around.
“Oyo State has no business being in the list of worst states in terms of deaths due to deliveries being taken by unskilled birth attendants and unmet needs of family planning.
“Therefore, we have gone to the drawing table and come up with an initiative that will drastically reduce these figures. It is this project that we are here today to inaugurate – the Tomo Ti’ya Initiative.
“Our goal is to reduce maternal mortality by 30% and reduce neonatal mortality by 20% in Oyo State.
“One of the important things we will be advocating is meeting the WHO recommendation of four or more antenatal care visits during pregnancy. The statistics show that when pregnant women are able to make at least four visits, the major complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are prevented,” Makinde said.
Giving an overview of the initiative, Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor, Dr Funmi Salami said the initiative will see the setting up of newborn corners in Primary Health Centres across the state, improve advocacy at the community level, provide quality neonatal care in the state.
With the intention to have a healthy society, Salami added that the state will seek interventions on integrated management of pregnancy and childbirth, integrated management of childhood illnesses, family planning, HIV, nutrition and family health.
The event further saw the inauguration of a steering committee with membership to include the Special Adviser on Health; Permanent Secretary, Oyo State Ministry of Health; Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Health Care Board; Executive Secretary, Oyo State Health Insurance Agency; Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board.