Andy Esiet, Calabar
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that about one out of 10 children in Nigeria die before their 5th birthday.
UNICEF said this on Wednesday in Portharcourt during the Multi-Zonal Media Dialogue on Dissemination of Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 2021 Report) in collaboration with Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) for Journalists from South East, South South and North Central zones.
Preventing the MICS 2021 report, on Early Childhood Mortality Rates, the Health Specialist, UNICEF Rivers Field Office, Portharcourt, Dr. Eghe Abe said Neo-natal mortality rate in Nigeria is very poor as 34 percent of every child that is born in Nigeria will not get to 28 days or one month.
In same survey, he said in North Central 23 percent of children born do not have chance of surviving before 28 days, in South East 9 percent of children do not have chance of surviving while in ßouth South 48 percent die before 28 days indicating that the federal and state governments do not place priority on child care and survival.
On post natal mortality, Abe said the report revealed that “28 percent of children in the country survive beyond 28 days but do not survive beyond one year, in North Central the percentage of same situation is 22, South East 17 percent and South South is 16 percent.”
For infant mortality rate, he said “63 percent of our children in Nigeria do not survive beyond one year” while in the North Central 45 percent, South East 27 percent and South South 64 percent do not survive beyond one year but on child mortality, 42 percent of children in Nigeria survive one year of birth but not beyond five years and in North Central 18 percent, South East 29 percent and in South South only 20 percent survive one year but die before five years .
On under five years mortality rate, Abe said at the National level 102 percent North Central 62 percent South East 54 percent and South South 82 percent of children die between birth and 5th birthday.
He stated that the neo natal mortality rate for Rivers state is very high standing at 70 percent while Ebonyi has the least at one percent and this is very poor for Rivers state considering huge investment in other areas while “our children are not surviving, it’s very poor”. Similar situation abound in post neo natal mortality, infant mortality, child mortality and under five years mortality rates in states in zones under review.
Dr Austin Nwachukwu who gave a talk on ” MICS-2021 Survey: Breaking Down Data into Stories Behind the Figures”stated that “as a household survey it was developed by UNICEF to assist the country’s data through survey and guide government in decision making and generate policies.
He said that one in in 10 children die due to poor government involvement and commitment on children and ther welfare as he charged women to do exclusive breastfeeding and the study showed that exclusive breastfeeding is high in Benue state than any other state in Nigeria and this is attributed to high case of internally displaced persons in camps where by circumstance do exclusive breastfeeding while some women in peaceful states do not do but rather prefer to buy artificial milk as a status symbol.
Speaking at the Dialogue, UNICEF Communication Officer, Dr. Ijeoma Ogwe said it was organised to galvanise action, unify with government and persons in positions to take favourable actions for children’s well-being to make more visible plights children in as media practitioners in the country were charged to look more into issues affecting women and children in their reportage to tackle their health problems.