To curb the increasing rate of neonatal mortality rate in Nigeria, a university don has advised that every birth should be attended to by competent health practitioners.

Dr. Olufemi Olaniyi, consultant, neonatal division, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH gave the advice during a lecture titled, “Maximizing Neonatal Survival in Resource Limited Settings: Optimizing the Golden Minute” at the monthly seminar organized by the Institute of Child Health, University of Benin/ University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City.

According to him, “There are 277 million neonatal mortalities recorded yearly in Nigeria. This is an alarming rate which has placed the country at number two in the world. We have a lot to do in the country to reduce death of babies during birth.

“It is imperative to have skilled attendants at birth. It is out of ignorance trying to force a baby to breath. Infants should begin breathing on his or her own. Health care workers should help babies to breath and not suffocate them,” he noted.

He further advised against hazardous forms of stimulating the baby to breath, stressing that health workers should not help the baby to cry by inflicting pain on them.

In his word, “Neonatal mortality is caused by deficiency of trained health workers; therefore, we need to advocate for a policy change because babies at birth are neglected. We need to improve data; community engagement and health care financing and every health care worker has the power to shape not only at birth but also their entire journey by remembering that every second counts.”

The chairman of the seminar, Prof. Nosakhare Enaruna in his opening remarks commended the Institute of Child Health, for the topic which is very important in antenatal obstetrics and survival of babies.

“Everyone taking care of a pregnant woman requires training. We all should know how to help babies’ breath, especially health care workers. You do not beat a baby to breath, keep the baby dry and let the baby stay on the mother chest,” he added.

In her welcome speech, the Director, Institute of Child Health, University of Benin/University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Prof. (Mrs.) Ayebo Evawere Sadoh. stressed on the need for people who are actually working to take care of pregnant women to be well-trained.