A Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Olukemi Tongo, on Tuesday said neonatal mortality remained a great challenge to achieving developmental goals.
Tongo, who works at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, made the assertion in an interview with Newsmen in Ibadan.
She said that the survival and health of newborn babies were critical to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Neonatal mortality, which occurs in the first four weeks of life, contributes significantly to under-the-counter deaths.
“However, a lot of these deaths are due to preventable causes, including prematurity, neonatal sepsis, jaundice, infections and birth asphyxia,” Tongo said.
The paediatrician said that the country would miss the SDG 2030 target if the trend continued.
According to her, making healthcare accessible and affordable is an important factor in the reduction of newborn deaths.
Tongo said that many newborn babies that died have no access to proper medical care.
She said there was a need to improve the quality of care, especially in the rural and low-income communities.
“Child mortality is also closely linked to improved maternal health.
“More than one-third of all child deaths occur within the first month of life.
“It is important for expecting mothers to have access to skilled health workers during pregnancy and after birth to increase the survival rates of neonates.
“Lack of continuity between maternal and child health programmes including antenatal band, postnatal care, has contributed significantly to neonatal mortality.
“This is because more than half the neonatal deaths occur after a home birth and without any health care,’’ she said. (NAN)