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Lagos Expands Food Pack Scheme To 5,000 Pregnant Women

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Lagos pregnant women
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, deputy governor, Dr. Femi Hamzat launching the scheme on Wednesday.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday unveiled the Mother, Infant and Child (MICH) initiative to address nutritional needs of pregnant women.

Speaking during the rollout of the initiative in Ikeja, Sanwo-Olu said that the target was to reach 5,000 underprivileged pregnant women across the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

MICH initiative, coordinated by the Office of the Civic Engagement, is a comprehensive nutrition programme to tackle cognitive and learning disabilities in newborns.

The scheme aims to raise the level of care for the pregnant women in underserved communities in Lagos throughout their pregnancy periods.

It is also to support development of infants’ brains from foetus to neonatal stage, especially in the first 2,000 days, said to be significant in a child’s formative stage.

The governor said that the government realised the roles of women in the socio-economic development, thereby taking the proactive step to improve maternal and child condition.

He said that the programme would also protect the rights of the women and children.

”The M.I.C.H. Initiative that is being launched today is not just an integral part of our plan to improve maternal and child condition, but it also speaks of our desire to protect the wellbeing and rights of our women and children in Lagos.

”We will be reaching out to indigent pregnant women and cater for their care during the period of their pregnancy in order to ensure safe delivery, healthy mother and child,” the Lagos State governor said.

“Our target is to reach 5,000 underprivileged pregnant women who will be selected by doctors and specialists in each primary healthcare centre across the state.

”They are to access the MICH food packs that contain recommended daily nutritional composition of protein, carbohydrate, lactose, milk fat, fibre, calcium, folic acid and multi-vitamins,” he said.

According to him, to access the programme, selected beneficiaries will be issued approved MICH Collection Cards individually, for the government to monitor the distribution of nutrient-filled supplements on a weekly basis.

The governor said the initiative would take off in flagship health centres in Ikeja, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Agege, Lagos-Island, Eti-Osa, Alimosho, Somolu, Kosofe and Ibeju.

He said that benefitting pregnant women would also receive quality care and follow-up through home visits by a dedicated team of public and state-approved private community health workers and medical consultants.

Aside the state government’s investment in fully-equipped Maternal and Child Centres (MCCs) in the last two years, Sanwo-Olu said the MICH initiative was conceived to protect infants from preventable impairment in neurological and physical development.

”We are convinced that there is no better time than now to leverage advanced technology, modern equipment and well-trained health staff to put an end to preventable maternal mortality and disabilities in infants.

”The process of bringing life into existence should no longer lead to the loss of another life; this is why we are initiating policies and investing in the Mother and Child Sector, to ensure that we drastically reduce and eliminate maternal mortality in Lagos,” the governor said.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said that the beneficiaries would go through four stages of care.

Aderemi said that the pregnant women would have access to weekly supply of balanced diet provided for by the Lagos State Government.

”Our objective is to ensure that the programme continues to provide free care and supplement packs for underprivileged pregnant women throughout pregnancy.

”This would prevent malnutrition and save the foetus from deficiencies that cause stunted growth,” she said.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that nutritious diets remained essential supplements required by an expectant mother during pregnancy.

Abayomi said that a nutrient deficient infant would go through irregular brain development, which might limit the child’s ability in adulthood.

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