June 16, 2009

Yar’Adua tasks Nigerians on child mortality rate

By Liade Akinboade

ABUJA–Wife of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua,  Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua has said for Nigeria to be able to overcome the challenges it is facing on child mortality, there is need for the private sector to collaborate with the Federal Government.

Hajiya Turai who stated this yesterday, at the commemoration of 2009 Day of the African Child organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said child mortality is a global problem, but Nigeria and Africa have one of the highest incidences of child mortality which calls for collaborative efforts of everybody.

The 2009 theme, for the day of the African Child is “Africa fit for children: Call for Accelerated Action Towards their Survival”.

She said the Day of the African Child is a day that was set aside in memory of dozens of children that were killed in Soweto, South Africa during demonstration in 1976.

“Child mortality is a global problem and the greatest problem in Africa. The major causes of mortality include malaria, preventable diseases, malnutrition, as well as, poor breast feeding and complementary feeding practices which accounts for the major risk factors for infant mortality.

The theme for 2009 day of the African child is apt, in view of the high incidence of infant mortality in Nigeria and indeed Africa and the need for collective effort to ensure that high mortality rate is reduced to the barest minimum,” Turai said.

She noted that just as HIV/AIDs pandemic has serious implications on the survival of a Nigerian child so poor sanitary conditions contributed a great deal to spread of infectious diseases in the nation. She, therefore, urged parents to teach their children and wards simple hygiene like washing of hands before eating and after visiting the toilet.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman said the ministry recognizes that partnership and collaboration are the answer to the nation achieving its set goals.

“Children survival and proper development are therefore vital for the successful human and overall development of our country, and should be a matter of concern to all segment of our society.”

Deputy Country representative of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Mr. Robert Limlim in his speech said of every 1,000 children born in Nigeria, 157 will die before their fifth birthday. Nigeria with a population of 120 million people, an improvement in Nigeria child mortality rate means a noticeable improvement in Africa.

He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to take a lead role by “creating an effective primary health care network and strong health promotion”.