In spite of the prevalence of insecurity, the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey has released data revealing that Zamfara State has recorded positive strides in its health indices and has been ranked the lowest in the neonatal and under-five mortality rates in the entire North West Zone.
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) is designed to collect statistically robust and internationally comparable estimates of key indicators that are used to assess the situation of children and women in the areas of health, education, and child protection.
The survey indicated that Zamfara has a 31 neonatal mortality rate per one thousand live births which is the highest performing State across the zone.
On the under-five mortality rate, Zamfara State has experienced 136 deaths per 1000 live births (0 to 5 years) putting it second performing State, after Kaduna which topped the survey.
Zamfara State still has a high potential of achieving SDG 3.2 on under-five child mortality, which is a reduction to at least 25 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2030.
The survey also indicated that Kebbi, Katsina, and Jigawa have the highest under-five mortality rates with 202, 179, and 174 respectively.
On the maternal and newborn cascade, Zamfara has recorded low performances, requiring more improvement to meet the national target, while on early initiation of breastfeeding the State top the survey.
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Reacting to the outcome of the survey the Executive Secretary of Zamfara State Primary Health Care Board Dr. Tukur Isma’il attributed the success recorded to the commitment of His Excellency Governor Bello Muhammad Matawallen Maradun in the payment of counterpart funding on various health intervention programmes and support from development partners working in the health sector.
Leadership and coordination roles by the Commissioner of Health Hon. Aliyu Abubakar, support from traditional, religious, and community leaders as well as acceptance from general communities on measures to promote health care delivery services.
Commenting on the low-performing areas cited by the survey, Dr. Tukur Isma’il said the recent infrastructure and human resources put in place by the Matawalle administration especially the provision of one functional PHC in each of the 147 wards and recent recruitment of health personnel as well as provision of quality and affordable drugs by the State Drugs Management Agency would bridge the gaps in addressing challenges confronting the sector.
“Establishment of Zamfara State Contributory Health Care Management Agency ZAMCHEMA would offer free and affordable health services to less previewed and vulnerable individuals.
“Provision of 147 tricycle ambulances to 147 PHCs would lead to easy access to health facilities, especially in the rural and hard to reach communities”
The Executive Secretary explained that “These efforts by Matawalle administration would go a long way in reducing the high number of home delivery as well as maternal mortality rate.”