Friday, 4 April 2014

Nigeria extolled for being first in Africa to produce Chlorhexidine Gel

Target States High Impact Project (TSHIP), a USAID programme, has congratulated Nigeria for being the first African country to produce Chlorhexidine Gel, a drug that could help reduce infant mortality.
The project’s Chief of Party, Dr Nosa Orobotan, gave the commendation at a meeting of the Informal Network of Chlorhexidine gel manufacturers in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the large scale application of the gel on the umbilical cord could reduce the proportion of children dying in the first year of life due to infections.
Orobotan stated that one in every three newborns died in the first month of life because of umbilical cord-related infections.
``The milestone of Nigeria being able to produce its own Chlorhexidine gel in this country is so huge that we need to acknowledge and celebrate it. Nigeria is the first country in Africa to achieve this milestone.
``Given that we have more than seven million deliveries in this country annually and given that one in three deaths in newborns in the first month of life is due to infection, this intervention used at scale could dramatically bring down infant mortality and the proportion of children dying in the first year of life because a large part of deaths in the first year of life takes place in the first month of life.
``So, if we drop that down - and this is what Chlorhexidine will do - it will dramatically give us the platform to bring down infant mortality.
``I do want to empahsise that while we are talking about one medicine, the impact is beyond what it appears to be. It is literally strong and quite powerful.``
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that TSHIP is a five-year project funded by USAID with a focus on providing high impact and integrated maternal, newborn, and child health, family planning, and reproductive health interventions.
The chief of party commended pharmaceutical companies that had shown interest in manufacturing the gel.
He spoke of the need to re-orientate women and encourage them to use the gel and not methylated spirits or other substances, such as tooth pastes.
Orobotan applauded the Bauchi and Sokoto state governments for the free distribution of Chlorhexidine gel in all its primary health care centres by community-based health volunteers.
He called on other state governments to emulate them.
Dr Kayode Afolabi of the Child Health Department, Federal Ministry of Health said that the Federal Government had approved the use of the gel and had gone ahead to capture its use in  the Child Health Policy and also in its infant and maternal Newborn Child Health Programme.
Afolabi said it was also on the government's list of essential medicines for umbilical cord care.



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