Home NEWS HEALTH Newborn Action Plan: Rivers State a trailblazer – UNICEF

Newborn Action Plan: Rivers State a trailblazer – UNICEF

Members of the High table posed with the RIENAP Book.

By Chukwudi Ejimofor, P/H.


The United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Rivers state Ministry of Health on Monday 11th November launched the Rivers Newborn Action Plan (RIENAP), and the investiture of Her Excellency Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike as the Newborn Champion in Rivers state, at the NBA Hall Main Auditorium Moscow Road Port Harcourt.



The Wife of the Governor who was represented by Mrs Tnime Aguma unveiled the RIENAP, hailed the efforts of all the partners in working for the road map for the decrease of child birth mortality rate in the state.

Members of the High table posed with the RIENAP Book.
Unveiling of RIENAP Book by the representative of Her Excellency.

“I congratulate the ministry of health form putting this together, and UNICEF who has always been great partner to the Rivers state government. It’s the belief of her Excellency that this action plan will be implemented if all the stakeholders come together and ensure its implementation”.


She charged them to make sure that the implementation of Rivers Newborn Action Plan get to the rural areas in the state, and implement it as soon as possible, promised quick and prompt response by Her Excellency should they need any assistant from her.


“I hope what you take away today from here will go down to the local government levels, and when you have challenges come back to ministry of health to table your challenges. Let this not be another document that will not be implemented, let it not sit on your tables and gather dust. There must be a concerted effort to ensure its implementation.


Justice Wike further opined that ”advocacy and sensitisation is very key for this plan to success. Whatever plans you need for plan to succeed, her Excellency is on it with you. Whatever challenge you may have just let her know she will assist you, she understands the enormity of what we are discussing here this afternoon, the infant mortality rate that has not reduced, despite all the plans to reduce it, it’s still on the high”. She stressed.


The UNICEF Field Officer Port Harcourt Dr. Ariel Abe, in his address commending the good works of the Rivers state Ministry of Health expressed the continued support and partnership of UNICEF, and congratulated the wife of the Governor for the investiture as the Champion of in the state.


”We are very delighted to be part of this activity which is aimed at launching very special document that will state in plane word how the state’s plans to take care of it Newborn”


I wish to congratulate Her Excellency on her investiture as the number one Newborn champion in the state. This is the first, and as my colleague from the federal ministry of health has said, Rivers state is a Trailblazer.”


Your acceptance of been the Champion is a once again great and noble course to show your total commitment that you are a mother of children in the state”.


I wish also specifically commends the ministry of health for have shown leadership. UNICEF supported the development of this plan, with the intention of supporting all of our fall states, but of all of them as usual Rivers state, because of the leadership shown in the Ministry of Health Rivers state was able to take it and run with, so I want to congratulate the ministry of health for this”


He emphasized the rate on increase of child’s birth death, and called for more commitment.


”The rate the Neonatal mortality rate is, it will be difficult for us because everything is reducing for all, under 5 mortality has reduced, but Newborn death has remained the same, so if it remains the same we can not achieve, because it were supposed to go down, and without Newborn death going down we can not achieve it.


This document is a call to action. The state must implement this document. It’s a document that was developed and made in the state. And been as a Trailblazer you must be a Trailblazer all round.


I want to assure you that UNICEF will continue to support the Governor of Rivers state towards his efforts at addressing disparities and inequities in health outcome among the most marginalized people with poor health indicators. Right now our newborns are marginalised and inequities, so we will continue to support the in wanting to address this


We want to support also the acceleration of the high impact intervention, the respectful maternity care, which mean the intervention to take care of the baby and the mother as they gave birth, because it will go a long way in reducing Neonatal mortality rate. UNICEF is supporting to operationalize the Rivers state health development health plan” Dr. Abe stressed.


The Director, Child Health in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Bose Adeniran, poured encomium on the organizers of the event.


“I want to congratulate the organizers for this great event. Today history is been made, Rivers state is the only state in the 36 states that has developed the state’s Every Newborn Actions Plan, and also launch it, in addition to that investiture of the wife of the Executive governor as a champion. These are the directives that were given to the states to implement. The success here today, one of the lessons learned that leadership is critical in whatever we are doing, partnership with relevant stakeholders this is what has worked in Rivers state”


She further admonished the partners and stakeholders of the project to be steadfast with their ambition to safeguard the child birth in the state.


“I want to encourage each stakeholders to make sure that this document is implemented to the last latter. It should not gather dust, we must implement it to ensure that the newborn, they strive and they rich their full potential.

Presentation of the investiture to the representative of Her Excellency

”As we are all aware, the indices as it relates to Newborn Health is unacceptably high. Newborn death contribute about 32% to under five morality rate in Nigeria. And most resent data from the Nigerian demographic health survey states that 38 per 1000 life birth been lost, so we are not there yet”.


Based on this, we need to be strategic in our planning to ensure that the newborn survives. And in doing this, at the federal level, this process started in 2014, with the first ever newborn conference that was organized in Nigeria.


And it led to a call to action that we need to develop Nigerian Every Newborn Action Plan, inline with the UN assembly directives that all counties with Newborn mortality of 30 and above, will need to do it differently.


The key thing that is critical in implementing the document is to empower the health care providers from the PH6 to ensure that they have they the capacity to take care of the newborn, that will go a long way.”


Earlier, the Permanent Secretary Rivers state Ministry of Health Mrs. Caroline Wali, enumerated the incremental level of child mortality rate in the state in the past years, and its negative consequences, hence the call for its decline on it.


“In Rivers state, the record of Neonatal death was 27 death for every 1000 birth, and stillbirth rate of 42.9 death for one thousand birth, that is the multi indicator cluster survey for 2016 to 2017. Without a push to end this sets, we will not reach the goal endorsed by 193 countries to end all preventable new born deaths by the year 2030”.

Demonstration of Child birth equipment to the audience.

This therefore called for strategic plans and strides to ensure all preventable new born death are brought to the bearest minimum. This need for the Action Plan for Newborn in Rivers state, which lays out the vision to preventable state’s Newborn death, by accelerating progress by evidence based high contact for effective interventions”. Mrs Wali contended.


Highlights of the event was goodwill messages from the Chief Medical Director of Rivers state University Teaching Hospital, Permanent Secretary Rivers state Primary Health Management Board, Deputy Chairman Port Harcourt City Council, the Unveiling of the RIENAP amongst others.


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