By Ayobami Agboola, Osogbo
The National Population Commission (NPC) says, it has started collection of data for 2019 Verbal and Social Autopsy (VASA) in Osun State to determine the causes and contributory factors of deaths in under five children.
The Acting Chairman of the Commission, Barr Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, made this known on Tuesday at a press briefing in Osogbo, the state capital.
The chairman, represented by the State Director, Mr Ayo Onikanni , said that the survey was aimed at providing up to date information on early childhood mortality rate.
She said that it would also cover the estimation of prevalence and health system factors of neonatal, infant under five mortality using the 2018 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) households.
The chairman said that the 2019 edition of the VASA Survey was the second in the series conducted by the commission and the first time they had it was in 2014.
Hundeyin further said that the commission had collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders in conducting the 2019 VASA survey.
According to her, this is to assist policy makers with reliable data to plan and formulate policies for the health sector in relation to maternal and child health.
“The result of the survey would provide national and zonal level estimates of the major causes of under five mortality in Nigeria from 2013 to 2018.
It will also make available patterns of care seeking, social factors and interventions received as related to death in children less than five years old, along with qualitative narratives of factors associated with these patterns,” she said.
Hundeyin noted that under five mortality in Nigeria was very high with an average of 132 deaths per 1000 births, adding that every available tool must be deployed to combat and curb the menace.
“This, therefore, brings us to the imperativeness of generating reliable data on the causes and determinants of neonatal, infant and child mortality in Nigeria.”
“According to the Nigerian Demographic Health survey conducted by the National population Commission in 2018, a total number of 3,215 under 5 mortality cases were selected out of which 31 percent (974) are Neonates while 69 percent (2,241) are children.
“The northern region had the highest number of about 2,601 deaths which is equivalent to 80percent, while in the southern part of the country, the number of child mortality amounted to 614 deaths which is 20percent of the total number of deaths recorded in the 36 states of the Federation.
“The commission finds this development very disturbing and is set to conduct yet another survey to determine the causes of deaths in children within this age range.
She urged government officials both at the states and local government levels, religious leaders, traditional rulers and the press to support the exercise to succeed.
The exercise is currently going on in all the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT.
The survey which started on October 19 end on December 18 in Osun State
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