In preparation for the forthcoming National Population and Housing Census in Nigeria, the National Population Commission (NPC) has commenced the 2019 Verbal and Social Autopsy (VASA) survey as well as enumeration area demarcation of two extra Local Government Areas in the state.
Addressing newsmen in Abakaliki about the survey step-down activities, the Acting Chairman of NPC, Barr. Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin represented by the Federal Commissioner in Charge of Ebonyi state, Hon. Darlington Okereke, via the state Director, Mr. Edward Ogbu, disclosed that the VASA survey which has been slated to last from 19th day of October 2019 to 18th December 2019 across the 36 states including FCT seeks to obtain data to determine the causes and contributory factors to deaths in children aged 0-5.
According to him, objectives of 2019 edition of VASA survey which is second in the series conducted by the commission is to provide updated information on early childhood mortality rate, estimation of the prevalence determination of cultural/behavioural/social and death system factors of neonatal; that is death of a live born infant within the first 28 days of life and under-five mortality using the 2018 Nigeria demographic health survey households.
Announcing that the survey is currently taking place in 12 local government areas in Ebonyi state, the Chairman expressed regret that under five mortality in Nigeria is very high with an average of 132 deaths per 1000 births.
He assured that the survey is indispensable as it will assist policy makers with reliable data to plan and formulate policies, provide national and zonal level estimates of the major causes of under five mortality in Nigeria from 2013 to 2018 and make available patterns of care seeking, social factors and interventions received as related to deaths in children less than five years of age, along with qualitative narratives of factors associated with these patterns.
More so, he called for proper education of the mothers as a way to end neonatal mortality because despite other causes like religious beliefs, socio cultural practice, age, socio economic status of households, birth asphyxia among other causes, adequate and full knowledge on the part of the mother can go a long way to control the situation to some extent.
He called on members of the fourth estate of the realm to support the commission by taking the news to all nooks and crannies of the state to ensure credible data is gotten from the 2019 VASA survey for effective planning and sustainable development in Nigeria.
He said, “As the only agency of government with the constitutional mandate of generating and providing demographic data for planning purposes, NPC in collaboration with the federal ministry of health and other key ministries, departments and agencies is conducting the 2019 VASA survey to assist policy makers with reliable data to plan and formulate policies for the health sector in relation to maternal and child health in Nigeria.”
“There is no gainsaying the fact that under-5 mortality in Nigeria is very high with an average of 132 deaths per 1000 births. What needs stating unequivocally is that every available tool must be deployed to combat and curb the menace in our society. This therefore, brings us to the imperativeness of general reliable data on the causes and determination of neonatal, infant and child mortality in Nigeria.”
“I am optimistic that the data will be used by policy makers and other stakeholders to formulate policies, design and implement programs that will go a long way in reducing neonatal and child mortality to the barest minimum in Nigeria.”
“I want to urge the government officials at the states and local government levels, security agencies, traditional rulers, religious leaders and community leaders to give all necessary support to the success of the exercise.”
Meanwhile, the Commission has also started enumeration area demarcation of two more Local Government Areas, Afikpo North and Afikpo South bringing it to a total of six local government areas enumerated and demarcated which include Ikwo, Ivo, Ebonyi and Ohaozara.
The Federal commissioner in charge of Ebonyi state, Hon. Darlington Okereke noted that the commenced exercise is a continuation of the 9th phase of the enumeration area demarcation aimed at delineating the country into small geographical units that can be easily covered by a pair of enumerators during the census period.
He also solicited for support of all and sundry to ensure hitch-free enumeration area demarcation exercise in the state.