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|…Harps on Improved Self-care|
By Imó Etim
The Federal Ministry of Health has sensitized family Health Stakeholders on National Self-care/Self-Injection guidelines in Akwa Ibom State.
The 2-day training which took place at in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital was aimed at bringing to the fore, the National Self-care and self injection guidelines to stakeholders thus equip them with the desired knowledge on how to counsel women on Child birth spacing and family planning.
The Director, Reproductive Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Kayode Afolabi, said the exercise was organised by the Ministry and Pathfinder International to improve quality sexual and reproductive health services in general.
He said that self-care revolves around making every individual responsive to his or her health needs.
“We want to ensure that individuals have awareness as to their health status and what should be done at the right time. Every individual should take some basic steps before going to a primary health care.
Afolabi advised that it is imperative for the public to position themselves to benefit from self-care, a shift in universal health coverage.
He said the Ministry is poised to create awareness and channels of accessing self care, aimed at uplifting the health status of the general public.
The Director offered insight to the fact that the minister of Health had inaugurated a task force to look at the emphasis of the self-care guidelines, their importance in improving access to care and uptake of interventions on the healthcare service.
He pointed out that the national self-care and self-injection guidelines were developed by the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, and with support from Pathfinder, JSI, SFH, PATH, among others.
Afolabi explained that the thrust of the guidelines is to improve Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health services in the country.
The Director offered insight to the fact that the domestication of the guidelines would set the ball rolling to scale up self-care policies and programmes, transform health care systems and place autonomy, power, and control in the hands of women and children.
He said that the guidelines, approved by the minister of health, has four thematic areas geared towards addressing critical areas where a higher burden of diseases was being recorded.
The Director pointed out that the safe care guidelines which are the national guidelines for safe-care are for sexual, reproductive and maternal health; while the fourth thematic area includes areas that look at improving antenatal care, delivery and newborn care.
He mentioned other key thematic area to include providing high-quality services for family planning, post-abortion care and combating sexually transmitted infections.
Afolabi said the state on the side of government is to approve and support the goal of expanding access to self-care across all the local government areas of the State.
On the part of Pathfinder International, they noted that the exercise was an important step towards improving access and quality of sexual and reproductive health services in general.
The Organization insisted that it was important for every individual to have access to care for their own health, lamenting, however, that the country is found wanting In availability of adequate service providers, especially nurses and doctors, skilled professionals needed to cater to the population.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof Augustine Umoh, represented by the Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Mrs Eno Atam said the State is rightly disposed to put to use the information gathered from the training.
She said “When I was given a heads up about this training, we had an inhouse meeting at the Agency and I had questions about the guidelines they were coming to Introduce, and they answered over and beyond what I asked. So, I am very comfortable that the manual that we are going through has been properly and considerately gone through, they are adapted from the W.H.O guidelines.
“I am aware of the hard work you are doing and I am here to encourage you to do more.”
Dr Adewole Adefalo, took participants on how best to administer self injection (DMPA-SC) which he said birthed the country in 2015. He spoke on it’s benefits to women and the society and stated that 43 countries of the world have already been introduced to Self-care for women, and Self Injection has been adopted by 16 countries and Nigeria is amongst those benefiting from it.
He said already, 29,000 providers have been trained in Nigeria. On how Akwa Ibom State is faring on Self-Injection of DMPA-SC, Adefalo said Akwa Ibom State has advanced from zero percent recorded in November 2020, to 3 percent in June 2021.Adefalo noted that Partners in the State who can help on DMPA-SC are Society for Family Health.He charged the State to take responsibility in ensurring that everyone has access to DMPA-SC among other self-care provisions.
Another resource person was Olajimi Olatunji who briefed participants on Data Quality Assessment (DQA). There was also expert contributions from Dr Lawrence Anyanwu even as participants were divided into groups for their presentation.
Goodwill messages were taken from partners like John Snow International amongst others.