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UNICEF, Bayelsa move to end alarming newborn deaths 

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Worried by the alarming and worrisome rates of new babies’ death from preventable diseases, Bayelsa State has launched the State Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP).

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Pabara Newton Igwele, inaugurated the action plan in Yenagoa, in collaboration with the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Igwele, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Inodu Apoku, said about 3,500 newborns died in their first month of life in the state, noting that it was one of the highest in the Southsouth region.

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He said: “In 2008, for instance, Bayelsa State had 64,000 babies delivered, of which 3,500 died in their first month of life. At the time, Bayelsa had the highest under-five mortality rate in the Southsouth, with 95 deaths per 1,000 live births. “Presently, when compared with the 2011 records, there has been a marked improvement on the number of under-5 mortality. Despite this, the decline in newborn mortality rate has been considerably low, as newborn deaths still account for 31 per cent of the total child mortality.

He called on critical stakeholders, partners, civil society organisations and private sector, among others, to work with the government at all levels in implementing the plan.

In her contribution, wife of Bayelsa State Governor, Dr Gloria Diri, said the well-being of mother and child is key in realising safe care before, during pregnancy and after delivery, hence all necessary means be employed to provide the enabling environment for rendering of health care services.

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