A Kogi based Non Governmental Organization, Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative (TBHI), would soon launch an advocacy project aimed at reducing preterm – related issues in the state.
Founder/Executive Director of TBHI, Mrs Petra Akinti Onyegbule made this known in Lokoja, the state capital recently during an advocacy visit to the state ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Speaking in an address, Mrs Onyegbule said the nineteen northern states which Kogi State is a part, rank among the highest states in the country with prematurity – related births in Nigeria, thereby contributing to the issue highest in Africa and third highest in the world.
According to her, the issue of preterm babies have become very rampant in the society, as every now and then, women have complications from miscarriages among other issues, adding that the advocacy project is aimed at bringing all actors and other relevant key stakeholders to a round table for a discussion in order to proffer a lasting solution to the challenge of inadequate healthcare facilities for preemies in the state.
She noted that quality healthcare delivery ought to be made affordable for low income pregnant women to enable them have opportunity of getting treated in a conducive environment at little or no cost.
The Executive Director stated that the project when executed, would help address quality of medicare available to preemies born to low income earners who can rarely afford requisite medical attention for their preterm kids in private clinics.
In her words; “It is an issue that affects everyone, we all have a role to play. For us at Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative, we will continue to play our roles of supporting families that go through these horrendous experiences to ensure it doesn’t affect their mental well being.
“Existing efforts have been on by us as an NGO to ensure that these premature babies are given support and a chance to survive, we believe that miscarriages, issues of complications from pregnancy goes beyond medical institution and it is now a social problem that has become a part of us that needs the involvement of all.”
“Ministry of Women Affairs is a part of this advocacy launch. In our organization, we give relief materials to families of preterm babies, we monetize 20 cylinder oxygen for premature ones who live on oxygen.”
“Oxygen that can last 8hours is N3500, 24hours is N10,500 each day on oxygen, there are just a few families that can afford that daily, which leaves a huge hole on the pockets of these parents, this is why we are appealing for support,” she elucidated.
In her response, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Bolanle Ampitan while commending the founder for the initiative of championing neonatal related issues, expressed delight for the visit.
Mrs Ampitan said the ministry of women affairs which was established to render services to humanity was ready to work with as many organizations that are willing to render services to humanity in line with the ministry’s core objective.
According to the Commissioner, women that have threatening pregnancy that leads to premature baby delivery need to be properly educated in order to overcome ignorance capable of endangering their lives and that of their unborn children.
“We will definitely not hold back our support, I know how expensive it is to maintain premature babies and we will work with you as a ministry, as there is every need to help reach out to more women” the commissioner added.
In a related development, the Founder/Executive Director, Mrs Petra Akinti Onyegbule and her team visited Specialist Hospital, Lokoja where they donated neonatal items worth thousands of naira to the neonatal ward of the hospital, to be used strictly for preemies.
Speaking, Mrs. Agnes Olaoye who received the items on behalf of the matron of the ward expressed appreciation to TBHI team for the gesture and assured that the items would be judiciously used for the purpose intended.
The items donated are 5 packs of 24G IV Cannula, each pack containing 100 pcs of cannula, 3 packs of 5ml syringe, 5 packs of 2ml syringes, a dozen of 200ml bottles of methylated spirit, a pack of adhesive plaster, 2 bottles of 500ml Olive Oil, 10 hand sanitisers, 4 packs of Pampers Diapers, 5 450G of Hydrophylic Cotton BP and 4 packs of Latex Glove.