October 4, 2023

The Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in the Kaduna State University, Kaduna, has commended the UN Children’s Fund for its support to strengthen the oxygen ecosystem for newborn care in the hospital.

The Head of Paediatric Department in the hospital, Dr. Audu Lamidi, gave the commendation on Thursday when UNICEF officials visited the Special Care Baby Unit of the hospital.

Lamidi told the News Agency of Nigeria on the sideline of the visit that UNICEF support in human resource development on

newborn care and the knowledge required to take care of babies had been significantly helpful.

He particularly commended the capacity building on oxygen concentrators’ administration, management, and maintenance as critical to the survival of newborns.

He explained that the admission rate for newborns in the hospital was about 1,000 to 1,500 per annum, adding that about 70 per cent of them usually require oxygen.

He added that “it is extremely important that oxygen is available in a unit that takes care of the newborn, particularly premature babies, most of whom have respiratory problems that will require the use of oxygen.

“There is also distress syndrome which is very common in premature babies. Also, babies that have infections like pneumonia need oxygen and other problems usually associated at birth.”

Mrs. Jessy Job, a mother of four while sharing her experience at the SCBU, told NAN that she would have lost her baby if not for the oxygen concentrators.

Job said that she spent one month and a week at the SCBU, adding that her baby was delivered at 28 weeks and as such, had to depend on oxygen to survive.

On his part, Dr. Obinna Orjingene, the Health Specialist, UNICEF Abuja, told NAN that UNICEF had taken steps to strengthen the oxygen ecosystem in the country following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Orjingene said that the support was to ensure effective interventions in pneumonia and hypoxia management and other diseases that require oxygen.

He explained that UNICEF, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), FHI 360, and other partners working in the oxygen space carried out a nationwide oxygen assessment to identify the gaps and functional oxygen systems.

He added that the assessment was also expected to suggest what needed to be done to bridge the gaps.

He said that the assessment showed a huge gap in the oxygen space and UNICEF supported the procurement of oxygen concentrators – five lpm and 10 lpm, depending on the size of the facilities.

The health specialist said that UNICEF had so far procured over 800 oxygen concentrators for different states, adding that the measure would help significantly to improve child health outcomes across the country.

“We have recently procured 220 10 lpm concentrators to be delivered to nine states, among which are Bauchi, Adamawa, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Ogun, Kaduna, and Kano.

“Beyond procuring the concentrator, we are also training biomedical technicians and engineers to be able to maintain the equipment.

“UNICEF is making sure that the healthcare workers have the capacity to use and maintain the equipment routinely through plan maintenance that we have instituted across the states.

“We have also built the capacity of the health workers to be able to manage pneumonia in line with the national guidelines, protocols and the new pneumonia algorithm.

“This is to ensure that the children are managed appropriately for improved outcomes,” he said. 


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