Nigerian Govt launches VASA report to stop child mortality

Dr Osagie Ehanire

Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health

Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health

The Federal Ministry of Health on Friday launched the report of the 2019 Verbal and Social Autopsy (VASA) study in its bid to put an end to child mortality in the country.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the launch and the National Dissemination of VASA in Abuja, said that the report of the study would serve as tool to improve the health of children.

The VASA study was conducted by the National Population Commission (NPopC) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The minister said that the 2019 VASA study was thus a vital tool in the critical initiative to improve the health of infants, children and for maternal health.

According to him, VASA provides up-to-date health and social indicators on under-five deaths in Nigeria and the distribution along geopolitical zones and individual states.

He added that “among the nine priority health areas of the current administration is the indication of the President’s vision and commitment to promote health and well-being of all Nigerians.

“This report is the product of the sound collaboration of several organisations.

“It is gratifying to note that the indicators from the report represent key areas of maternal healthcare (Women aged 15 – 49, Child Health, Nutrition and Child Mortality.

“Data generated in the survey will provide the information needed to identify key deficits and channel resources to address development needs.

“It will also be used to monitor and evaluate progress toward meeting the goals of our Universal Health Coverage agenda and of the Sustainable Development Goal three, with regards to maternal and child health.’’

The minister thanked all the stakeholders for providing the technical support to conduct the survey and appreciated all the other invaluable contributions that supported the development of the report.

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“I look forward to further deepening our relationship.

“I call on Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, state governments, local governments, organised private sector and Civil Society Organisations to feel free to make use of the 2019 VASA data for planning and development purposes,” he said.

He assured that the Federal Ministry of Health would continue to collaborate with NPopC in its efforts to achieve its constitutional mandate of providing accurate, credible, verifiable and acceptable demographic and health data for national planning.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the VASA study report dissemination meeting would help stakeholders to design their focus on child and maternal mortality.

Tallen, who was represented by Mrs Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, said VASA would help to address the paucity of data in the sub-sector.

She said, “for this, I want to thank the Ministry of Health, NPopC, USAID and all the development partners for producing VASA.”

Dr Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), congratulated the ministry and NPoPC for producing the report.

Kale, who was represented by Mr Tunde Adebisi, Director, Demography and Social Statistics Department of NBS, said the bureau was happy about the report.

He said “we are the ones that should actually celebrate more because people will get the data from us.

“We have gone through the report and we will be glad to disseminate it to users,” he added.

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