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Report on the second edition of the Maternal New born and Child Health Research Day

The second edition of the Maternal Newborn and Child Health Research Day was held at the Rockview Hotels (Royale) Abuja from the 24th -26th of September, 2019.  On the 25th of September, the session started with an opening prayer of the second stanza of the National Anthem and an opening remark by Dr Adeniran. The first speaker was Professor Jesse Uneke, the deputy Vice-Chancellor, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. His presentation was on Evidence-based policymaking regional guidance known. He discussed the uptake and mainstreaming of regional evidence-based policy in Nigeria. At the end of his presentation, he highlighted that a developed roadmap of the guidance uptake in Evidence-based policies in Nigeria is in place but need to be implemented in various works of life.

The next session was on maternal newborn and child health and mental health. The session was opened by Professor Oyewusi  Gureje from the University of Ibadan. He spoke on the need to integrate mental health into MNCH programmes. Oral presentation on the SPECTRA project, RAPID project and RAPIDmh on actionable results and messages on the research findings and expectations using decision making MNCH policy and practices were presented by the Ibadan IDRC team.  Antenatal depression and foetal growth outcomes were also presented by the Department of the Psychiatric University of Jos. The next session was the PSN Africa who presented on community-engaged approach to perinatal mood and anxiety disorder awareness and treatment. The presentations ended with a panel session on mental health. The panel discussed what the current relationship between mental health and maternal healthcare services in Nigeria is presently and how mental health can be included in maternal healthcare services. The panel comprises the Psychiatrists, gynaecologists, paediatricians, decision-makers, care providers, and project implementing partners. 

On Thursday 26th, an opening prayer was cited and the session started with a workgroup on developing a roadmap of integrating mental health in reproductive health in Nigeria. The participants were divided into two groups. Group one dealt on identifying barriers and facilitators for integrating mental health into maternal healthcare programmes and identifying strategies/interventions/process for the integration of mental health into maternal healthcare programmes. The second group worked on identifying enabling policies and other factors that could promote the sustainability of the integration of mental health into maternal healthcare programmes.

The next presentation was from the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre on Increasing Access to Skilled Pregnancy Care in rural Nigeria. The presentation was given by Dr Blessing Omo-Omorodion from WHARC. She highlighted the success of No maternal death record since the implementation of a multifaceted intervention in two LGA in Edo State.  She also pointed out that It is evident that the community ownership model can succeed in rural communities where poverty and weak linkages with PHCs are principal determinants of poor maternal health outcomes. The key innovation in this project shows that strategic community engagement through WDCs can stimulate the use of PHCs by women for skilled pregnancy care. Communities can drive to improved PHC delivery when fully informed. The outcomes of their results are promising and have a high potential for scale-up to other parts of the state and other states.  Questions raised were on the sustainability and transparency of the project activities and funds respectively. In her reply, she stated that the community drives the process of the activities while WHARC plays a supervisory role and assist as need would be. She added that the WDC chairmen are answerable to a community development union and their kings and are not a sole signatory to the account housing the funds.

The program ended with a report presentation on notes of the report from the meeting and recommendations and draft of the communique.


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