Gov. Challenges Varsity Dons

…Find Solutions To Suicide Cases in Nigeria

By Agnes Igwe

The Ebonyi state Governor, Chief David Umahi has challenged Nigerian Professors to conduct researches and come up with possible solutions to the incessant cases of suicide in Nigeria.

Governor Umhai represented by the Deputy Governor, Barr. Kelechi Igwe threw the challenge during 12th inaugural lecture of Ebonyi State University recently in Abakaliki.

The governor expressed readiness of the state government to partner with any professor who shall proffer timely and lasting solutions to the menace of suicide ravaging the country.

The 12th inaugural lecture with a theme ‘Sudden infant death syndrome and infantile alphea’ delivered by the Vice Chancellor, Elder Prof. Chigozie Ogbu x-rayed the causes of infant deaths and possible solutions to end the dreaded syndrome.

According to the lecturer who is Professor of Pediatrics and one time Deputy Governor of the state, “The purpose of the lecture was to present the phenomenon of sudden infant death syndrome to the clinicians and other health care professionals, so that they can recognized it when they encounter it and be able to provide well informed brief counseling to parents and to the general public.”

“The lecture should inform them that knowledge of disease and death in 21st century has gone beyond and superseded the ancient African Ethno-medicine concept,”he said

Prof. Ogbu who was Associate Director of Neonatology at Hurley Medical Centre, Flint Michigan and researched widely on breast milk, neonatal nutrition and infantile apnea as well as Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS) pointed out that one of the causes of infant deaths is overlaying of babies by their mothers while sharing same bed mostly at nights.

The Vice Chancellor noted that bed sharing with a mother who smokes increases the risk for sudden infant deaths syndrome, it mostly occur in babies lying down face down position than in babies that is lying down face up.

Consequently, the pediatric Professor advised mothers to avoid smoking and sharing same beds with their new born babies to reduce cases of sudden infant deaths.

He called on health professionals to utilize their God given knowledge of diseases and deaths to enlighten Nigerians on the need to do away with African ethno-medicine concepts of disease and deaths following extensive knowledge of man and his environment in the 21st century.

Prof. Ogbu, stressed that this has nothing to do with herbal medicine which is acceptable and is being refined to promote safety and effectiveness. Witchcraft, sorcery and divination have nothing to do with human life and death.

According to him, other factors that could cause sudden infant deaths are excessive cessation of breathing, sleeping in prone position, prematurity and low birth weight, brain anomaly, siblings of SIDS victim, multiple births, mother who smokes and share bed with the infant, male child as well as a teenage mother.

He said, “Bed sharing between mother and child has been in practice since history of man. However, what is of great interest in this case in relation to our subject matter is that overlaying of the child by the mother was thought to be the cause of sudden unexpected death of a healthy infant. For centuries, overlaying and smothering of babies by their mothers while sharing bed with them has been assumed to be the cause of death of the healthy babies in bed with their mothers.”

“Epidemiologically, the first recorded case of sudden unexpected death of an infant is found in the Holy Bible in the book of first Kings Chapter 3 verses 19 – 20. This was the case of the famous judgment of King Solomon in Israel .Two harlots who lived together in the same room; each had a baby at about the same time. It happened that one night one of the babies died and a dispute arose between the women as to whose infant was overlaid to death.”

“In other words, this has nothing to do with herbal medicine which is acceptable and is being refined to promote safety and effectiveness. Witchcraft, sorcery and divination have nothing to do with human life and death.”

“Sudden infant death syndrome is defined as the sudden unexpected death of a seemingly healthy infant less than one year of age, usually during sleep, that remains unexplained even after thorough case investigation including the performance of a complete autopsy examination of the death scene.”

“In Nigeria, 65 infants out of every 1000 births die between one and twelve months of age according to the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report on the state of world’s children 2017, there may be no accurate statistical data on infant deaths in Nigeria in line with the international classification of diseases, it is reasonable to assume that a number of these infant deaths, perhaps as many as 0.5-1per1000 live births will having no identified cause of death even after thorough investigation including post mortem examination, review of medical history and examination of the death scene.”

He was also inducted into the Association of Distinguished Professors and recognized as father of Pediatricians in Ebonyi state.

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