Dr Adegoke Adeyemo, Chairman, Oyo State Hospital Management Board, says poor economic and health situations are responsible for UNICEF’s high ranking of infant mortality rate in Nigeria.
Adeyemo, a specialist in family medicine, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Monday.
He was reacting to Nigeria’s ranking as 11th globally by UNICEF among countries with the highest infant mortality rate.
“Many of our churches and mosques have to be told that their work is spiritual. They should face the spiritual aspect of it.
“If they want to provide medical care, (they should) provide it in the full sense of it like Catholics, Baptists and Muslims; they set up full hospitals with all the personnel.
“It is wrong for any small church to just decide to set up hospitals just to take delivery (of babies) and things like that.
“At the government level, the government has to improve the level of available income to each individual and also it has to spend that money appropriately on adequate types of food.
“All these are indications of the fact that there is poor health provision and secondly, the economic situation and the poor health education of the people,” said the expert.
He cited poor coordination of public health facilities and their availability to people as factors responsible for high infant mortality.
“The economic situation has also worsened because many people cannot afford proper and adequate diet,” he said.
Adeyemo said another reason responsible for the high rating is the regulation of the health sector.
“Running health facility without being regulated is detrimental to women and children’s health.
“People sell herbal concoctions ‘Agbo’ to pregnant women, some people set up maternity home who are not trained at all to deliver babies.
“The low level of education among our people on health also contributes to this infant mortality.
“When a child is sick people think it is spiritual, they don’t go to the hospital to access adequate medical care even when it is available because they have other alternatives which are not the best,” he said.
The chairman said constant education of the populace through the media would help to reduce infant mortality rate in the country.
He urged synergy among the three tiers of government in research, data collection and state of the art public health facilities as well as personnel to end infant mortality in the country.
Adeyemo also urged states to adopt the new health model in Oyo state with coordinated approach from local governments to community levels.
“When the community is involved, members will want to use the facility. In the state there is improvement in monitoring and provision of health facility.
“There has to be a uniformed policy analysis and when a policy is adopted it has to be monitored and followed.’’
He said government should provide security for the citizenry especially in the North East where there is unrest that increases infant mortality.
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