Address Of Welcome By The Hon. Minister Of State For Health, Senator Dr. Oloruninmbe Mamora At The Official Launch And National Dissemination Of Report Of The 2019 Verbal And Social Autopsy Study (Vasa) At The Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja On Friday,

Protocols,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this historic event of the official launch and dissemination of the 2019 Verbal and Social Autopsy (VASA) Study by the National Population Commission in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and support from USAID and other key stakeholders.

2. I specially welcome the Honourable Minister of Health and the Chairman of the steering committee, 2019 VASA. The Technical Working Group of this Report could not have actualized the objectives of this survey without the leadership and motivation of the Hon Minister of Health. Thank you Honourable Minister and you are most welcome. I equally welcome my dear sister, a strong pillar of support for our Ministry and also a highly dependable ally of the Ministry of Health, the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen to this auspicious occasion.

3. May I also welcome the Chairman National Population Commission, Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra to this occasion as partner in this noble cause. I seize this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment by Mr. President to superintend over the most dynamic population agency in Africa. I wish to acknowledge Members of the Commission, the Honourable Federal Commissioners representing the 36 States and the FCT.

4. I welcome in a special way our development partners, USAID, WHO, UN and other key stakeholders who have been with us all through our journey to this day. Your support has been tremendous and key to our achieving the objectives of the VASA project.

5. The 2019 VASA report which is placed before us today for launch will be a veritable tool for planning for infant, children and maternal health in the country. The VASA survey was a follow up to the 2018 NDHS, where a total of 3,215 under-5 mortality cases were selected out of which 31 percent (974) were Neonates while 69 percent (2,241) were Children.

6. In Nigeria, the most common causes of neonatal deaths including preterm birth (early birth) are birth asphyxia, pneumonia and meningitis. Other causes are tetanus and malformations just to mention a few. In addition to the aforementioned causes of infant and child deaths are other factors like - religious beliefs, socio-cultural practices, age and education of mother, socio-economic status of household, illness recognition, and quality of care and health system factors.

7. For the 2019 VASA survey, two sets of interviewing teams were sent to the field. The teams focused on responses from caregivers in the households, group discussions and in-depth interviews within the community in addition to the household interviews. The National Population Commission handled the quantitative component of the study, while the University of Lagos handled the qualitative aspect of the 2019 VASA survey.

8. I commend the efforts of various stakeholders such as CIRCLE, USAID, Federal Ministry of Health, particularly the Department of Family Health, National Bureau of Statistics, Lecturers and National Population Commission who worked tirelessly to bring the 2019 VASA survey to this stage. It is my hope that such collaborative effort will continue in the future. At the end of this launch, I am optimistic that the data will be used by policy makers and all stakeholders to design programmes of better health care delivery in Nigeria.

Thank you for your kind attention.

FMOH Agencies

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